‘Making a Murderer’: What Happened to Steven Avery’s Kids?

Almost no one outside of Wisconsin had heard of Steven Avery until 2015, the year Netflix producers decided to make a documentary about him. Making a Murderer exploded in popularity and almost everyone who watched it had so many questions. Chief among them: did he really commit murder, or was he framed by a vengeful sheriff’s department?

Steven Avery was arrested, tried, convicted, and sent to jail for life without the possibility of parole for his involvement with the murder of photographer Teresa Halbach. But his story doesn’t end there. Now, his new lawyer Kathleen Zellner is committed to freeing Avery and clearing his name for good.

Who is Steven Avery?

Steven Avery

Steven Avery | True Crime Daily via Youtube

Before he was the subject of national speculation, Steven Avery led a mostly unremarkable life. He had a normal childhood growing up in Wisconsin along with three siblings. His parents owned a salvage yard there.

Avery had a few brush-ins with the law over the years, including an arrest for a burglary charge and animal cruelty charges for that time he killed a cat by setting it on fire. But things didn’t get serious until 1985, when Steven Avery was arrested and sent to prison for the rape and attempted murder of a jogger named Penny Beernsten. Avery served 18 years of his 32-year sentence before DNA evidence proved his innocence and he was released.

How did Steven Avery’s marriage fall apart?

One thing so many people forget is that Steven Avery was married and even has four children. In 1982, he wed 19-year-old Lori Mathieson, a single mother with one son named Jason. The pair went on to have four children together: Rachel, Jenny, Steven Jr., and William.

Steven Avery Jr. and Bill Avery

Steven Avery Jr. and Bill Avery | True Crime Daily via Youtube

Tension started when Avery went to jail for the rape charge, which occurred while the couple was still married. Apparently, Avery started receiving letters from his wife that said she “can’t handle [the] kids anymore.”

But she wasn’t the only one sending ominous letters. According to Milwaukee Magazine, Steven Avery wrote menacing letters of his own following the couple’s divorce in 1988. One such letter said, “I hate you, you got your divorce now you will pay for it,” and “If you don’t brang up my kids I will kill you. I promis. Ha. Ha.”

Why did Steven Avery’s kids stop speaking to him?

Both Steven Avery and Lori Mathieson found new relationships in the wake of their divorce. In a weird twist of fate, Mathieson went on to marry Avery’s former brother-in-law, Peter Dassey. But what happened to the children they were raising together? According to the Post Crescent, those four kids, who are all grown up now, want nothing to do with their infamous father. The source says, “four or five [of the children] have said Avery should not have been let out of prison [the first time].”

People from the small town they live in confirm that the Averys have a negative perception of the man that’s wildly different than the person portrayed in the documentary. They explain that Avery is “a controller” and did things like call his brother Earl, who was 15 at the time, and tell him “to have sex with Lori” while Avery was incarcerated. They even believe he could have manipulated Brendan Dassey into committing murder with him.

Steven Avery’s kids are keeping a low profile to try to keep their lives as normal as possible, especially now that their father could get out of prison for a second time. But even though Avery’s parents are vehemently convinced of his innocence, it’s clear that his kids aren’t quite so sure.

Steven Avery Jr. and Bill Avery

Steven Avery Jr. and Bill Avery | True Crime Daily via Youtube

What do Steven Avery’s twin sons think about their father?

Steven Jr. and Bill may share DNA with Steven Avery, but that’s where their connection ends. The boys haven’t spoken to their father in 20 years.

During a candid interview about the case, Bill said,  “I just see him as a complete stranger. I know that he’s my father, but I grew up without a father for so long that it just kind of feels like I don’t have (one).”

Steven Avery Jr. and Bill Avery

Steven Avery Jr. and Bill Avery | True Crime Daily via Youtube

But despite not knowing the man, Bill Jr. isn’t convinced he committed murder, even if he was found guilty by the court of law. Steven Jr. is a little more skeptical. When asked if he thought his dad was guilty, Steven Jr. said,

“I have no idea. I mean, only one person can answer that and that is Teresa, but she can’t answer it no more. The only thing I know is that the entire case was very shady. It’s clear that there was corruption.”

He went on: “I don’t wanna live life saying he’s guilty when he’s really innocent or he’s innocent when he’s really guilty, and I would just — I just wanna know the truth from him. If he did do it, why? So this way I can finally move on and then I can tell his grandkids the truth and so they know the truth.”