The evidence in question isn’t totally new to the case. It is the bone fragments of the victim, Teresa Halbach. Originally, it was said that the fragments were discovered at Avery’s home in his burn pit and burn barrel. What the original reports didn’t say was that there is evidence that fragments were also discovered at another location, reports Rolling Stone. Avery’s defense would have never known, had it not been for a police report Zellner claims she received in December 2018 from an anonymous third party. The report, filed on September 20, 2011, indicates that “human bones” recovered during the investigation were collected from locations that prosecutors claimed had nothing to do with the murder. The fragments were then removed from the Calumet County sheriff’s department’s evidence control unit and transferred to a local funeral home which then “returned” them to the Halbach family in 2011. Zellner believes that these additional bone fragments would have been a step toward proving the longtime defense theory that Halbach was killed and burned at another location.
The Manitowoc County quarry, the second location in the report, contained three burn piles. One of the piles contained what is believed to be a fragment of a human pelvis. All of them contained bones which were labeled by law enforcement as “human” or “suspected human.” At the trial, the prosecution downplayed the likelihood that the bones were human.
Zellner has tried to have testing done on the bone fragments since 2016; however, her efforts have been met with resistance. Zellner’s request was initially approved in 2017, then denied by the circuit court. The examination is now on hold pending approval by the Court of Appeals. She believes the bones could have been destroyed.
According to Wisconsin law, law enforcement is required to preserve “any biological material” and “physical evidence” until the convicted defendant has been discharged from prison. If you watched the Netflix docuseries, Making A Murderer, or followed the case, you’ll know that Avery is serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole. A state statute protects his rights to retain evidence that may be reasonably used in his case.
“It isn’t just the pelvic bone, there’s about 10 bones that were recovered from the quarry,” Zellner explained to Rolling Stone. “By giving them [to the Halbach family]…they have just confirmed they believe those bones are human. It’s a very sneaky way to get evidence destroyed. It seems very deliberate that the thinking was, ‘We need to get rid of those bones, but we can’t just go in and cremate them ourselves.’”
Zellner has submitted numerous letters to supplement a January 24, 2018 motion that accuses prosecutors of violating state law and Avery’s constitutional rights by destroying evidence and “obstructing” her ability to find out. She has submitted letters following up on her motion as recently as this week.