Today’s Trip to The Locksmith

Locksmiths know a lot about keys

Though I have put considerable effort already into proving that the key found on the bedroom floor of Steven Avery’s trailer on 11/08/2005 was planted, there were, until today, a few loose ends I needed an expert’s opinion on to tidy up.  So, to make clear exactly what those loose ends are, I thought it best to offer a brief synopsis of where I am at, currently.

Lieutenant Lenk of Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office found a key on the floor of Steven Avery’s bedroom on 11/08/2005 that was later used against him in court when he was on trial for the murder of Teresa Halbach.  This found key was immediately photographed, bagged as evidence and sent off to the Wisconsin State Crime Lab in Madison.

In the meantime, the victim’s vehicle, a 1999 Toyota RAV4 was found on Steven Avery’s property on 11/05/2005.  It also was shipped off to the Crime Lab for evidence processing.  But when it was shipped back to the county where it had come from, Calumet, in this case, it also arrived with a key that was made at the Crime Lab that would open and operate the vehicle.

On 07/12/2006, the putative key found on the floor of Steven Avery’s bedroom was photographed again, several times, by Jeremy Hawkins.  The problem with the picture of the key in this series of photographs is that it doesn’t match the key found on the floor of Steven Avery’s trailer in several different ways.  There is no escaping this fact, and there is also no escaping that this means that the key found on the floor of Steven Avery’s bedroom was planted there by someone.

The fact that the keys don’t match is the most important thing to know because this information should have direct bearing on whether two men who are currently in prison serving life sentences should be freed, but, as I began to delve into this matter, it became evidenct that there was still more information needed to address certain oddities.

For example, the key shown in the photograph taken by Hawkins on 7/12/2006 is a Toyota manufactured valet key for a 1999 Toyota RAV4.  I went to a locksmith to confirm this, and the confirmation was made by comparing the blade, not the key handle, although that is different (from the master) too.  The locksmith explained to me that there would be an extra notch at the tip of the master key that would be absent on the valet.  This was helpful to know, but it still didn’t explain where the key had come from.

I had originally surmised that the key shown in the photograph taken on 7/12/2005 might have come from a copy made from the key that was made at the crime lab.  But I had to all but rule this out because the key made at the crime lab would not have been a valet key.

But even so, it couldn’t be ruled out completely, reason being that Toyota dealerships sell key blanks for both master and valet keys.  Thus, someone could have taken the master key sent back by the Crime Lab to one such dealership and had a valet key fashioned from a copy of the master.  But that seems very, very unlikely.

What seems more likely, however, is that Teresa Halbach’s “spare” keys were found when one or more members of law enforcement went to visit her apartment to collect evidence.  For this scenario to be true, however, the collection of such evidence would have had to have occurred after 11/08/2005.  Why?  Because if the genuine key that went with the vehicle was found among Teresa Halbach’s belongings before 11/08/2005, it would have been this key, or a copy of this key—they would have featured in the photograph taken immediately after the discovery of the key on 11/08/2005 showing the key on the floor of Steven Avery’s trailer next to the bookshelf.

So, is there any evidence to suggest that members of law enforcement went to Teresa Halbach’s apartment shortly after 11/08/2005?  Well, yes.  Yes there is.  On 11/14/2005, Sgt. Bill Tyson and DCI Special Agent Thomas Fassbender pay a visit to Teresa’s old apartment on a mission to collect Teresa Halbach’s DNA.  It is on this visit that they are lead directly to a cache of Teresa Halbach’s dirty laundry by none other than Ryan Hillegas who seemed to have detailed knowledge not only of where all of her dirty clothes were, but also of her general laundry routine.   Additionally, Mark Wiegert returns on 12/01/2005 on a mission to find the boxes for Teresa’s Palm One Zire, her phone and camera.  And once again, Ryan Hillegas helps as he knows right where the box to Teresa’s camera is.