Remembering the victims: Families speak up to support Teresa Halbach

Teresa Halbach

U.S. (WBAY) — The last few months have been an emotional roller coaster for local families who suffered the loss of a child in a brutal murder.

They say the national attention on Steven Avery following the release of the Netflix series “Making a Murderer” frustrates and outrages them.

They believe people are forgetting Teresa Halbach and her family, so they’re speaking up for them.

Bill and Carol Breyer and Vicki and Rick Jones belong to a small circle of families no one ever wants to join.

“It’s unexplainable what it feels like,” says Vicki.

“Every day you think of her,” says Carol.

Both families endured the pain and suffering of a murdered child. In July of 1991, Bill and Carol Breyer’s granddaughter, Amy, was just weeks from her third birthday when she was kidnapped from her bedroom in the Town of Menasha by a man staying next door.

“And he took the screen off the front of the trailer and took Amy out of her bed, and off he went. Back in the field is where they found her,” recalls Carol.

Amy had been raped and strangled.

“And it was raining. The poor little thing laid out in the rain,” says Carol, growing emotional.

Amy’s killer is in prison for life.

But her murder left a void few could possibly understand.

“They don’t know what it’s like unless they go through it,” says Carol.

Three years later, Bill and Carol would meet a family who would.

“It’ll be 22 in September, 22 years,” says Vicki Jones.

Cora Jones, Rick and Vicki’s daughter, hopped on her bike at her grandma’s house in Waupaca County on Labor Day 1994 and headed toward a favorite fishing spot to see a boy she liked.

“And when he wasn’t there and she turned around to come back up to her grandma’s is when he seen her and come down and turned around on that road and snatched her, and there lay her bike in the middle of the road,” remembers Vicki.

Her parents launched a massive search. Hundreds more volunteers joined over the next five days.

That sixth day Cora was found murdered about 75 miles away.

Her killer also went to prison, where he later died.

But it was a moment in the middle of that horrifying week of searching that Vicki and Rick received comfort from the mothers of Berit Beck and Ronelle Eichstedt. Both girls had also been murdered a few years prior.

“It makes us feel a lot better, because they know how we feel. Everybody’s just great here. And everybody says they don’t know how you feel, but these people do. I mean all our daughters,” said Vicki Jones on that night back in 1994.

Now two decades later, they’re hoping to pass on that same support to Tom and Karen Halbach.

“From one mom to another, my heart goes out to her,” says Vicki.

“Teresa needed a voice somewhere, something to kind of put the family at ease,” says Carol Breyer.

These families feel they have to say something, hoping people shift their attention to the one quieted voice.

“I hope they realize how many people are behind them, and they’re in their prayers,” says Bill Breyer.

Neither family has watched the Netflix series. And they don’t intend to see it.

“I won’t watch it. I heard about it. I won’t watch it,” says Rick, as Vicki chimes in, “No!”

Bill and Carol call the series “frustrating.”

They say it not only outrages them by putting so little focus on Teresa, but it brings back memories of their own loved ones.

“It still comes up everyday. You think about it everyday,” says Bill.

Even after more than 20 years, you can see the pain these families still live with.

After only 10 years, they can’t begin to understand what the Halbachs may be facing.

‘It would be like re-living it all over again,” says Vicki.

These families hope sharing their stories not only helps the Halbachs, but makes others think twice and remember the life of a young daughter, sister and friend.

“Our hearts go out to you. You’re in our prayers and stay strong,” says Rick.

“We’re there for them,” adds Carol.

The Breyers say they plan to reach out to Teresa’s parents to see if they can offer any support, comfort or advice to them.

We reached out to the Halbachs Thursday, who say hearing that these families support them is a great comfort.

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