A Toyota RAV4 was found on the Avery’s Auto Salvage property. It turned the missing person case into a homicide case and made Steven Avery the prime suspect.


Sightings of the RAV4 before it was found

On 31 October 2005, about 2:30PM, the victim drove her Toyota RAV4 to the property of Barbara Janda for an appointment she had with somebody she knew as "B. Janda".

About 5 minutes later the victim left the property, according to Steven Avery, who also claimed he saw the car driving over Highway 147.

About 2:45PM ~ 3:00PM Bobby Dassey, who lives on the Janda property, left his home to go deer hunting. As he goes outside his home he notices a Toyota RAV4 car parked nearby, but does not see the photographer to whom the car belongs.

At about 3:30PM a bus driver dropped off Steven's nephews Blaine and Brendan. She later claimed she saw a woman taking photos near Steven's residence.

Blaine and Brendan, however, as they walked to their home, did not see a photographer, nor a Toyota RAV4.


On 5 November 2005 Pamela Sturm and her daughter Nikole, two members of a volunteer search party, were looking for their missing relative. They wanted to check out the Avery’s Auto Salvage property, as it hadn't been checked yet by the other volunteer searches.

As they entered the property, they met with Steven's brother Earl and asked him if it was okay if they could check out the salvage yard. Earl gave them consent.[1] If Earl had said no, Pam and Nikole would not have found the RAV4 that day.

Pam and Nikole intended to check every vehicle they saw on the salvage yard.[2] As Nikole started going into a western direction checking cars there, her mother went southwards up to some sort of ridge where there were about seven or eight cars. As she walked over the ridge, she noticed there was one car partially covered with branches, a hood of the vehicle. At the back it said "Toyota RAV4" and Pam figured it had to be her missing relative's car.[3] She called her daughter, who had searched about 50 vehicles by now.