Are The ‘Right’ Questions Being Asked In Follow-Up Investigation Into Steven Avery Case?

The case of Steven Avery, convicted for the murder of photographer Teresa Halbach in 2005, has likely more eyes focused upon it now than at any other time in the near thirteen years since it’s occurrence.

Along with Avery’s post-conviction attorney Kathleen Zellner’s ongoing investigation in her attempt to prove Avery was not subjected to a fair trial, and continued public interest, the sheriff’s department tasked with carrying out the original investigation into Halbach’s death, have begun investigating once more.

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The follow-up investigation into the murder of Teresa Halbach by Calumet County Sheriff’s Department, begun in the August of 2017, consists of interviews of 18 individuals both directly, and indirectly involved in the original investigation throughout 2005/06.

Within the interviews—conducted by Special Inv. John Dedering, particular attention is made of the damage to the front left blinker assembly of Halbach’s Toyota Rav4 and the key that she was using to operate the vehicle. No fewer than 8 individuals within the report were asked as to their knowledge of any damage to Halbach’s car prior to her disappearance and subsequent death. Seven of the eight—including Halbach’s housemate at the time, Scott Bloedorn—were unaware of any damage. The eighth person interviewed, Ryan Hillegas, initially gave a statement in 2005 to Special Agent Thomas Fassbender stating that the damage to Halbach’s vehicle had occurred months prior to her disappearance, and that she had duly filed an insurance claim.

However, research carried out by Zellner’s investigator showed no such claim had been made, and during interviews of Hillegas on August 22nd, and October 23rd of last year, he indicated that he, “[c]ould not provide [Dedering] with any details,” and that it was,      “[u]nknown to him who told him about the damage or the claim.”

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Hillegas’s statement back in December 2005, was given to the same agent—Thomas Fassbender—involved in the current Brady claim by Avery’s attorneys relating to an undisclosed CD, that was seemingly retained in Fassbender’s possession, rather than being disclosed to Avery’s former attorneys Jerome Buting and Dean Strang by then District Attorney Kenneth Kratz prior to his trial. Indeed, the CD in question was not disclosed until some 12 years following, on April 17th of this year.

Dedering also interviewed Halbach’s former work colleague Thomas Pearce on September 7th, 2017. During Pearce’s interview he gave further indications that Hillegas had been abusive towards Halbach, albeit not necessarily in a physical way. Pearce also alluded to the fact that Halbach had asked him to take on a wedding photo-shoot that involved Hillegas—one that she didn’t wish to photograph due to Hillegas being present.

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Perhaps of as much importance as the questions that have been asked since CCSD’s follow-up investigation began, are the questions that appear not to have been asked. Although Dedering presented Hillegas with phone records from the Oct. 31st through Nov. 5th—to which Hillegas indicated that, “[t]oo much time had passed for him to review the telephone records and recall with any certainty his whereabouts”—he made no mention of the 22 no caller ID calls received by Hillegas in the space of 4 hours on November 4th. While it is understandable that Hillegas recollection of specific calls might be hard to remember, it seems far less likely that he wouldn’t remember 22 related calls over the space of such a short time period. More importantly however is why the specific question was not asked?

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Further interviews with both Barbara and Scott Tadych were conducted on November 10th, 2017, less than 3 weeks after a recorded phone call with Avery had revealed that both Scott and Barbara Tadych were aware that Halbach had left the Avery Salvage Yard after completing photographing Barbara’s van.

Surprisingly, according to the report, Tadych, not Dedering made mention of the call, stating that since its occurrence he had been receiving “[t]hreats on facebook,” and indicated that, “[h]e lost his temper during the course of the conversation and doesn’t remember exactly what he said.”

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Tadych not being able to remember what he said is not of issue here. However, Dedering knowing exactly what was said during that phone conversation with Avery is of far greater significance. Questions asked by Dedering during the interview included: “[were] you in any way involved in the homicide of Teresa Halbach?” and, “[did you] have much contact with Steven [Avery] after Steven was incarcerated?” Of more pertinence surely would have been the question:

“Talk to us about the fact that you and Barbara were aware that Teresa Halbach left the Avery Salvage Yard on October 31st?”

The so called ‘Investigation’ continues…

 


 

If you have any questions or queries regarding this article, or indeed anything CJReform related please don’t hesitate to contact me here.

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