On November 3, 2005—three days after Teresa Halbach had driven out to Avery Auto Salvage—Karen Halbach, Teresa's mother, called the Calumet County Sheriff's Department to report that her daughter hadn't been heard from all weekend. Karen Halbach said that it was unusual for her daughter to be out of touch with her family and friends for that length of time, and she was worried.
Teresa Halbach missing poster.
Volunteers had already started retracing Teresa's steps, hoping to find her. On November 5, a group of volunteers arrived at Avery Auto Salvage. They asked Earl Avery if they could search the property, and he gave them permission to look around. After searching about 50 cars, the volunteers found a blue Toyota Rav 4 similar to Teresa's partially concealed by tree branches and various car parts. The vehicle was locked and had no license plates. The volunteers immediately called investigators at the Calumet County Sheriff's Department who obtained a search warrant that same day.
Halbach candle light vigil
Calumet County investigators went directly to Avery Auto Salvage, which is in Manitowoc County, and inspected the blue Toyota. The Vehicle Identification Number confirmed that it was Teresa Halbach's car. It was placed in an enclosed trailer and transported to the Wisconsin Crime Laboratory in Madison for further search and analysis.