Teresa Halbach's bones likely burned on Steven Avery's property, 'Convicting a Murderer' Episode 8 says

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The eighth installment of "Convicting a Murderer," released Thursday, delves into evidence that Steven Avery burned Teresa Halbach's body on his family's Two Rivers property the night of Halloween 2005.

"Convicting a Murderer," streaming on conservative media platform DailyWire+, shares evidence that led to the convictions of Avery and his teenage nephew Brendan Dassey for Halbach's gruesome murder. The 10-part docuseries is a rebuttal to Netflix's massively popular series "Making a Murderer," which since its release in 2015 has led viewers all over the world to advocate for Avery's and Dassey's innocence.

"Convicting a Murderer" features interviews with law enforcement, family members, attorneys, journalists and "case enthusiasts," as well as footage from Avery's and Dassey's trials, audio recordings of jail phone calls, media coverage of the case and clips from "Making a Murderer." Its first three episodes premiered Sept. 8, with each subsequent episode available on the streaming service every Thursday until the end of October.

In April, The Daily Wire announced it had obtained "Convicting a Murderer" and was making conservative political commentator Candace Owens the docuseries' host — but the series has been in the works for over six years. Director Shawn Rech did not previously say it would have any particular political affiliation.

Both "Convicting a Murderer" and "Making a Murderer" tell the story of the investigation and trial surrounding Halbach's murder. On Oct 31, 2005, 25-year-old Halbach went missing. A photographer for Auto Trader Magazine, Halbach's last assignment before her disappearance was to take photos of a vehicle at Avery's Auto Salvage, a family business near Two Rivers.

Avery was arrested days later, after searchers located Halbach's vehicle on Avery's property. He had been out of prison for just over two years, after he served 18 years for a 1985 sexual assault he did not commit. Avery was exonerated of that crime in 2003, after advances in DNA technology pointed to a different man as the assailant.

Immediately after Halbach's disappearance, even before his arrest, Avery claimed he was being framed by law enforcement. At the time, he had a pending lawsuit against Manitowoc County and the Manitowoc County Sheriff's Office for his false conviction, in which he was seeking $36 million.

Dassey was arrested and charged in connection with Halbach's murder after he told investigators in March 2006 that he assisted Avery in sexually assaulting and killing Halbach, then burning her body.

Both Avery and Dassey were convicted after separate trials in 2007 and sentenced to life in prison.

Here are some takeaways from "Episode 8: The Bones."

A bloodhound picked up Halbach's scent in various locations of Avery's property

The latest installment of "Convicting a Murderer" opens with an interview of a new source to be featured in the docuseries: a retired canine handler.

Sarah Fauske was the handler of a bloodhound named Loof, who, using Halbach's scent from several of Halbach's pair of shoes provided by her family, searched the Avery Salvage Yard for Halbach's remains.

While Loof drew law enforcement attention to several areas, the spot she became most animated about, signifying she detected Halbach's scent most strongly, was on a berm — a raised strip of land — behind Avery's trailer, overlooking a nearby quarry.

Fauske and multiple investigators say they believe this is where ash from the fire when Halbach's body was burned was deposited.

"It’s very hard to explain the emotions that go with that, but (Halbach) was definitely on that berm," Fauske says in Episode 8.

Another area where Loof showed interest during the search for Halbach's remains was near a burn pit. However, Avery's dog, a German Shepherd named Bear, was on the property in that area and was aggressive when any investigators or search dogs got too close. Investigators say they weren't able to search the burn pit until Nov. 8, 2005, after Bear was removed from the area.

Halbach's bones were found in Avery's burn pit and burn barrel

On Nov. 8, 2005, investigators combed through the burn pit and removed anything that appeared to be human bone. They then transported the potential human remains to Madison for a forensic anthropologist to analyze them.

The forensic anthropologist reported that the bone fragments were from an adult woman. At Avery's trial, another forensic anthropologist identified what bones the fragments were from. Pieces of bones from all over the body were located.

Additionally, an expert testified at trial that a remnant of a tooth found matched Halbach's dental X-rays.

While tiny fragments of bone were found throughout the burn pit, a burn barrel on Avery's property had four larger pieces of human bone.

Avery's defense attorneys argued that someone else killed Halbach at a different location then brought the bone remains to Avery's property to frame him. However, "Convicting a Murderer" argues, this theory is not supported by some of the evidence.

For one, investigators found tiny fragments of bone intertwined with tire wires in Avery's burn pit. If Halbach's body wasn't burned in that location and someone transported them from somewhere else and purposely spread them around Avery's property, it's unlikely the bones would have ended up intertwined in the wires left behind from burned tires, says Tom Fassbender, retired special agent with the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation and co-lead investigator on the case.

Also, bones were located in the quarry behind Avery's house as well. They were not confirmed to be human bones until after the trial, but Fassbender says he believes that supports the claim that Avery tried dispersing Halbach's burned remains after the fire.

"To me, it substantiates our case. It certainly doesn’t substantiate someone burning Teresa totally in one location in the quarry or somewhere else," Fassbender says in the latest episode. "The guy that’s doing that isn’t going to take the time — and there would be no reason — to take time and spread them all over the quarry. He wants them in Steven’s pit.”

Multiple witnesses recalled Avery having a large fire the night Halbach disappeared

The first few times Avery was interviewed by investigators and reporters, he claimed he did not remember the last time he had a fire. But in later interviews, he started saying he did make a fire the night of Oct. 31, 2005, when he burned four tires.

Multiple witnesses, including two of Dassey's brothers, Dassey's mother and her boyfriend all said they saw Avery with a fire that night. However, because they did not recall the fire in their initial interviews, some case buffs believe investigators convinced the witnesses they saw a fire that night when they actually did not.

In Episode 8, Candy, the ex-wife of Steven Avery's brother Earl, tells filmmakers she remembers seeing large flames that Halloween night.

"I could see the flames, and it's like, holy man, he has a huge fire down there. I don't understand how the house couldn't have melted," Candy says.

Some of Dassey's statements to police were corroborated by evidence found at the scene

In Dassey's confessions, he answers investigators' questions about how Halbach was killed and burned.

"Convicting a Murderer" includes clips of the footage from one of these confessions, in which Dassey says he helped Avery carry Halbach's body to the burn pit, where they set her and her clothing on fire.

Among the burned evidence collected on scene is a jean rivet from the brand Daisy Fuentes. Halbach's younger sister testified at trial that Halbach had a pair of Daisy Fuentes jeans.

Dassey also told investigators about different tools Avery used on the fire, including a shovel to try to break up bones left after the fire, then tried to spread out the bone remnants.

Investigators found items like a shovel and a rake on scene by the burn pit that they say matched what Dassey told them.

"These tools found near the burn pit really corroborate Brendan’s story that Avery was out there, breaking up these bones, trying to break them down, trying to not get caught," a "case enthusiast" identified only as Alex, says in the episode.

Questions remain, however, about Dassey's statements made to investigators during hours of questioning without an attorney or guardian present. One thing that "Convicting a Murderer" seems to agree with "Making a Murderer" about is that Dassey was not treated justly during the investigation and court proceedings.

The end of Episode 8 includes discussion about Dassey's first public defender, Len Kachinsky, who essentially told media Dassey was guilty early on in court proceedings. It's a clear set-up for Episode 9, which is titled "Manipulating Brendan."

Read about the other episodes released so far:

Episode 7: 'Convicting a Murderer' Episode 7 addresses Brendan Dassey's involvement in Teresa Halbach's 2005 murder

Episode 6: 'Convicting a Murderer' Episode 6 challenges arguments for Steven Avery's innocence with phone call and car key evidence

Episode 5: 'Convicting a Murderer' Episode 5 disputes arguments of law enforcement corruption against Steven Avery

Episode 4: 'Convicting a Murderer' Episode 4 discusses inconsistent statements made by Steven Avery

Episodes 1-3: Takeaways from first 3 episodes of 'Convicting a Murderer,' the response to 'Making a Murderer'

Contact Kelli Arseneau at 920-213-3721 or karseneau@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter at @ArseneauKelli.

This article originally appeared on Appleton Post-Crescent: 'Convicting a Murderer' Episode 8 focuses on bones found in burn pit