The Hood Latch DNA IS Bullshit And Possibly Planted by Ken Kratz

Teresa Halbach RAV4 hood latch

This is probably the most important article I’ve written to date.  I realize it is not succinct, but it is not always possible to be as succinct as you would like, to make a strong, persuasive case.  If you have any interest in this case and if you’ve been following it, I urge you to read what follows in its entirety.  It is something I should have posted a long time ago, but I became disillusioned with how this sordid mess was playing out in the media, and the wild theories that sprouted and grew as they were promoted by a legion of half wits, and I just didn’t feel up to it.  I believe I present new material here that you haven’t seen yet (I haven’t ever seen it, though by this time it would be impossible to see it all as the corpus is now vast).

A lot of people who haven’t followed this case closely might not know this, but the first encounter Brendan Dassey had with law enforcement was not when Thomas Fassbender and Scott Wiegert interviewed him in on February 26th of 2006, but just days after Teresa Halbach’s murder on October 31st, 2005. On November 6th, 2005, Brendan Dassey, along with his brother Bryan, who had been riding along as a passenger in their uncle Steven’s Pontiac Grand Am, were stopped near the family vacation home in Crivitz, Wisconsin.  The stop was made for the simple reason that law enforcement wanted to seize the vehicle for evidence.  I think it ended up being fateful that Brendan Dassey was in the vehicle when it was stopped, but that’s a story for another time.  Here is a little relevant background taken from J. O’Neill’s report filed 1/31/2006

Agent Skorlinski had previously secured a search warrant relative to a Missing Person Investigation (Calumet County) for the seizure of the Avery Pontiac and subsequent to the stop by Deputy Degnitz, the Avery vehicle, was towed by Witts Towing of Crivitz to the Marinette County Sheriff’s Department Impound and followed to the impound without incident by Deputy Degnitz.

The interrogation that took place between Brendan Dassey and Detectives O’Neill and Baldwin (his brother Bryan was interviewed separately, presumably by Degnitz and Skorlinski, even though no record of this interview has ever been produced) lasted almost an hour and half.

What Dassey said, and what the detectives said to him are interesting, but it is not the substance of that interrogation that I wish to examine for my present purposes, but rather something that happened during the interview this is of tremendous, if overlooked significance.

As Baldwin and O’Neill are interviewing Brendan, Detective Degnitz comes over from his cruiser to theirs to interrupt with a question.  Remember that the point of the stop was not to ask Brendan or Bryan questions—at this point it’s not even clear that law enforcement had any idea who these two young men were— but simply to perform the technical procedure of seizing evidence for later processing.  The first question that Degnitz asks O’Neill is:

You’ve got some kind of memo that if it’s inside its supposed to have the battery disconnected

There is only a few seconds more of this brief exchange between Detective Degnitz and Detective O’Neill about the Grand Am before detective O’Neill gets back to questioning Brendan:

Detective O’Neill: Yeah, I wouldn’t … glove up, that’s all

Detective Degnitz: Yeah.  All right …

Detective O’Neill: Before he ah lets it totally loose, give it a hi…a hi look.  Give it a high look underneath

Detective Degnitz: Make sure there’s not parts under there?

Detective O’Neill: Yeah.

Detective Degnitz: Okay, I thought, though you were gonna crawl under it.

Detective O’Neill: Yeah. (laughs)

A memo that if “it’s” inside, “it” being the Grand Am, it’s supposed to have its battery disconnected?  That sounds to me like Degnitz, in bringing up the memo, is referring to a standard protocol of the Wisconsin State Crime lab that was described in a memo that went out to law enforcement agents in Marinette County where Steven’s Grand Am was expected to found.  No one to my knowledge has ever tried to obtain this memo, but if it still exists, and if it can still be obtained by an official request as most of the other records pertaining to this case have been obtained, it might reveal details that could put the entire investigation in an entirely new light.

Though Degnitz obviously didn’t have the memo with him as he approached O’Neill’s cruiser where Brendan was seated in the backseat, clearly Degnitz remembered something about its contents because it had given instruction about the importance of disconnecting the battery cables.  I would suppose that meant that if the vehicle were going to be stored in an indoor location, such as you might expect it would be to preserve important possible evidence either on the inside and outside, the attending officer would be needed to perform the simple task of disconnecting battery cables.  Why the attending officer?  Because there might not be anyone at the evidence depot to perform the task, and, given that it might involve sensitive material, it would not have been a task entrusted to anyone but law enforcement.

I would further suppose that if was was an infrequent occurrence for the cops of tiny Marinette County, Wisconsin to seize cars for forensic efforts, it is probable that the less experienced Degnitz turned to the more experienced O’Neill to make sure he was following procedure correctly.

Now, the reason why this is so MASSIVELY  significant has to do with the fact that there is every reason to suppose that Teresa Halbach’s RAV4 was handled by the same protocol in the exact same manner.  And this explains the mystery surrounding why the battery cables to Teresa’s RAV4 were disconnected.  It was the Wisconsin State Crime Lab that opened the hood of Teresa’s RAV4 and disconnected the battery cables, just as they did with the Grand Am, just as the memo instructed.

To put it all together, if Steven Avery didn’t disconnect the battery cables to Teresa’s RAV4, then he had no reason to open her hood which means he never put his fingers on the hood latch which means there is absolutely no reason why his DNA should have been found on the hood latch.

Yet it was.  And isn’t it interesting that this is the only incriminating, non-sanguineous DNA of Steven Avery’s ever found on the car?  None anywhere IN the vehicle, just on that hood latch which, let’s face it, would have been a lot easier to access than the inside space of the RAV4.  After all, we have to assume that either the doors to the RAV4 were locked, and when they weren’t locked forensics experts were either in or around the vehicle.

It is well known by now that the crime scene was all but a circus with dozens, if not hundreds of people shifting in and out from one day to the next at all hours.  Would someone with as much stature and clout as Ken Kratz have been allowed near the vehicle? There can be no doubt.  Kratz, as the DA designated to handle the case had a legitimate purpose for being at the crime scene to observe all there was to observe in the trailer, the garage, and RAV4.  And we know from the sign in logs that Kratz spent a lot of time on the scene over many days.

If he did this, and happened to see that the hood was open and that the battery cables were disconnected, he would have naturally assumed that the vehicle had been left this way by whomever it was that killed Teresa and left the vehicle on the salvage yard.  There would have been no reason for him to have received the memo that went out to law enforcement in Marinette County.

If you read, you will not find much here about Lenk, or Colborn, or even Fassbender and Wiegert.  The reason I don’t is because I am not solidly convinced that any of these men willfully participated in a murder cover up.  If Ken Kratz happened to know, for some reason, that these men DIDN’T plant evidence, it would be squarely within his interest to to mercilessly ridicule the frame up theory at every opportunity, and that’s exactly what he’s done.

The question then becomes how it is that Kratz would know such a thing?  Well, let me suggest that if there was anyone up to any form of skulduggery (pardon the expression), at the Avery Salvage Yard, I don’t see any good reason not to place most of the suspicion on Ken Kratz himself.

Think about it.  He’s the only one we know for sure, for absolute sure in the ENTIRE Making A Murderer cast who best fits the profile of a lying and scheming sociopath. I believe that I have thoroughly proven that he is a pathological liar, and he himself has confessed to being a serial sexual predator.  Of note, too, is the fact that the evidence that was collected for this case was kept in Calumet County.

For those who think this can all be waved off as gross, speculative nonsense, I will point you to a Newsweek article that ran last year that Kratz’s own former colleagues were concerned about Kratz tampering with evidence after his behaviors as a sexual predator caught up to him:

When news of the investigation broke and Kratz resigned from his job that paid $105,000 per year, the acting Calumet County District Attorney unplugged Kratz’s computer and put evidence tape over the plug opening. And both investigators and Kratz’s successor appeared to be worried the disgraced prosecutor would sneak into his old office to destroy evidence. When the DOJ director of field operations asked whether Kratz had the keys to the DA’s office, the acting DA said Kratz had both keys and the door lock codes that permitted access to the entire office. But as precaution, the acting DA said, he changed the codes on the front door of the DA’s office.

Whoever these people were, they must have known Kratz quite well.  They had worked with him, and they had worked with people who had worked with him.  Unlike the general public and the audience of Making A Murderer, they were in the privileged position to have observed him over years and years and to really know quite a bit about his core character. So I think is says volumes that these insiders didn’t put anything past him including evidence tampering.  And if they didn’t, I can’t think of any good reason I should, or you should either.

It also seems to me that there is something about Kratz which goes well beyond ordinary villainy and touches the borderline of what we commonly think of as diabolical.  I see, too, that others have expressed this sentiment in no uncertain terms.  Len Kachinsky, or Michael O’Neil contributed great harm to Brendan Dassey but neither induce the feeling of utter repulsion Kratz is able to produce with almost every syllable he speaks.

Just as Kratz’s earlier upending was his own ignorance about “sweat” DNA, his upending this time surrounds his ignorance about why the battery cables were found to be disconnected.  Kratz is the one who goes on and on and on about the hood latch DNA.  No one else does.  Anyone in law enforcement who had received the memo would know exactly why the battery cables were disconnected.  If evidence was planted, given what I’ve laid out here, who is the likeliest suspect?



  • This battery cable business is another connection started by Fassbender really. He’s the one that suggested that Avery went under the hood to Brendan. And we have to understand in order for the hood to be opened, the handle INSIDE the Rav must first be pulled, right? But no dna found there as far as I know. Or fingerprints.

    It just doesn’t add up that Avery was the one that disconnected the battery.

    • It is crucial to get the memo because Fassbender worked as a homicide investigator for the state of Wisconsin. IF there was a protocol to disconnect battery cables before taking a vehicle into evidence, he should have know about this. So if Fassbender knew this, why was he asking Brendan about what he saw Avery doing under the hood?

  • Not sure what to think about this memo business. It’s certainly possible the battery was disconnected at some other time than at ASY. The normal person assumes they knew it was disconnected before the RAV arrived in the Crime Lab because of all the things they had to do to the vehicle at ASY in order to haul it by the tow truck – i.e. they couldn’t release the transmission to release the locked wheels. But that has nothing to do with the battery because they had no key anyway. So even if they opened the hood and found the battery disconnected, unless they tried to hot-wire the vehicle, they were out of luck anyway. I’m not sure even then the steering wheel would unlock.

    So I’m not sure we’ll ever know who took the battery cable off. People made assumptions at the Crime Lab about why the engine didn’t start once they tried to start the car, looked at the battery and it’s disconnected. It may have been done by someone in LE based on that memo you reference. BTW, I’ve read about this memo before, so it’s not new. Check TTM for other posts about the battery.

    Back to your point. It’s also been said that the way the cable is removed is odd. This may have been in the original MaM subreddit. Evidently the cable is wrong or the cable was removed from the wrong terminal in some way. I’m not a mechanic. If this is true, then – 1) it was likely done by someone without a mechanic background, 2) that could be a kid or a non-mechanic or a cop not involved with the Crime Lab. One would assume that a Crime Lab person working with vehicles (this would NOT be uncommon in this area; lots of vehicle crime issues here) would know how to do it properly.

    So if it was done by LE, then the cable removal is a comparable investigation artifact as the q-tip smears in the blood samples taken from inside.

    It’s a pity we don’t have a true photographic record in evidence with proper time stamps that can be judged against activity reports by the crime scene investigators. We do know that many photographs were taken AFTER investigatory activity, and that’s just awful police work in my opinion.

    • I know the memo is not new but connecting it to the hoodlatch DNA “evidence” is. I’ve known about the memo for a long time, and I thought someone would eventually make the connection about the hood latch, but no one ever did (to my knowledge). In any case, I think it’s important to get the memo if possible. Do you know whether anyone has ever tried to get it?

  • IF AC found the RAV when he made his phone call, I’m sure they disconnected the battery, because they didn’t want it to disappear when they came back and “officially” found it!