True Detective season 3 theory: Amelia saves the day, Roland has something to hide and Luke Skywalker is our hero

TRue Detective Theory: Who killed

Let me get the crazy theory out of the way: It would be a massive disappointment if we discover Amelia is the killer. But she is involved. She is the reason Wayne is stuck. For her, he did something that goes against his nature.
In a detective story, there is a crime and a perpetrator. But, taking clues from our True Criminal podcaster Elisa Montgomery, who isn't too concerned with finding out what happened to the Purcell children, let's first dig into the crimes committed at the investigative side. Leads that weren't followed up, people that disappeared. Two cops that fumbled a case. Wayne keeps asking Elisa what she knows. Fearing she is some Columbo-like investigator who has her guy already in her sight. Or is she merely following the rumors and speculations brought up online to uncover a coverup, the conspiracy, the whole shebang?
If Elisa has Wayne in her sights, she might know something that was implied by ghost Amelia: "You are worried they might find what you left in the woods."
Roland and Wayne keep telling us, through dialogue and hallucinations that they killed someone. It seems irrefutable. If not cousin Dan O'Brien, then head of Hoyt security, Harris James.
The journey of their partnership started with them hanging out. Wayne tried to shoot a rat but missed. "You are slow on the draw," Roland said.  A fox appeared. Detective West attempted it to shoot it, and Detective Hays thwarted that effort. "It's predatory vermin," West insisted. But our purple Hays said he preferred boar, and an even playing field. A fox may be predatory vermin in Roland's eyes—although he changed his opinion about dogs, as an archetype, a fox is also a cunning animal, and this might indicate that our killer is hiding in plain sight.
Wayne got his wish and an even playing field when the trash man Brett Woodard made him carry his water. Wayne came up against a fellow Vietnam vet, a capable shooter and a man prepared to die, and it was Woodard or himself.
It is highly unlikely a man with the morals of Wayne killed a rat or vermin like Cousin Dan, although Wayne likes lying to himself.
What could have been the reason for either Wayne or Roland to kill Harris? Well, two good ones: revenge for Tom or Woodard. This last episode Harris came up behind Tom when he arrived at the Pink Room. It has been implied that Tom is dead, but we don't know when it happened or why.
I don't think Harris will kill Tom after the discovery of the pink room. Something still has to happen between Tom and his'daughter' Julie. But if Harris did, I don't think Roland would hesitate. Roland forged an emotional connection to Tom; offering him a place to sleep, praying with him, helping get off the booze. There are subtle hints that maybe it could have been more than that between the two. Even trough all the macho posturing, we find Roland living all alone as an old man; no woman, no kids. I don't think it is a coincidence Amelia quotes Full Metal jacket, and an Officer and a Gentleman with her "Queers and steers," way before those movies came out. But he might just feel for the guy.

But if Harris hid Will's backpack and was responsible for Woodard's posthumous conviction, Wayne might be the one with a reason to revenge the man he had to kill very reluctantly.
If any of these two options happened, both men, Roland and Wayne, were present during the kill, and that first scene with the rat and the fox will resonate.
What happened that let the partners not speak to each other for 24 years? When setting out to kill the person they might have disagreed as they did with the rat and the fox.
I don't think the reason they didn't talk has to do with anything Roland did wrong. Wayne is a judgemental prick sometimes, and if Roland did something he disapproved off, I don't think he would have forgotten it that easily.

There have been a lot of theories about Amelia being the killer. Those seem too "gotcha" in my opinion. But her involvement is almost inevitable. The hint of how she was involved comes in episode 5 when Amelia is reading The Jungle Book to her kids.
The Jungle Book references already came at us even before that episode. Kipling's book about Mowgli, the boy, dropped in the jungle is about abandonment followed by fostering. This was inspired by what happened to its writer Rudyard Kipling. It is about being lost, and moving freely between two worlds, not belonging and learning the Rules of the jungle, about chaos, and order. These themes were explicity talked about by Woodard in his first interrogation: Following orders, the jungle and knowing how it feels to be in a place where you cannot stay, but you cannot leave.
 Kipling had a strong connection to the Scouting movement. The first book we see in the children's bedroom is a Scout one. The kid's drawings depict animals, Hoyt is on Safari.  The pedophile (is he?) was calling himself ironically Robert A-BEAR like as Mowgli's friend Baloo and Robert Armitage Sterndale the great naturalist that had a significant influence on Kipling. The district attorney and bald cop are called Kindt and Delvin: Kid and wolf in German.
But the question is: who is Mowgli in this story? Is it Hays, who was dropped as a kid in the Nam jungle and had to fight his way out, making him apart from this world.
Or could it Julie Purcell?
Like Kipling who was born in wealth and had to spend time with a horrible foster family, Julie is a princess who spends her time raised by wolves.
Who is her father? Tom Purcell says his wife Lucy tends to sleep with the boss. So apart from the boss at the bar, Lucy could have slept with the boss at Hoyt. The Hoyts lost a granddaughter and erected the Ozark Children Outreach Center in her honor. We have four possibilities there: Julie is Hoyt's daughter, she is Hoyt's pretend granddaughter, she is the daughter of somebody else connected to Hoyt or she is his real granddaughter. This last one is farfetched, but Lucy's parents are gone, and we don't know much more about her family situation. She could be a Hoyt herself. The question also remains: what happened to Hoyt's granddaughter?
Julie stays in two worlds, with the Purcells, and with the Hoyts. Julie couldn't leave the Purcells because she had her brother there. We might be tricked, all the time it is implied that Will is protecting Julie. He is the oldest and the boy. But he was the sensitive one. The notes passed through the hole could be written by Julie, to help Will cope with the family situation.
Julie was at the Pink rooms before her disappearance; we learned that from her drawings.
Julie disappeared from Purcell's house because Will wasn't there anymore. There was no reason for her to stay.
In the beginning, we might think that what goes on in the Pink Rooms is vile. But Julie describes herself as a princess. A rightful heir. The pink room is just a strange room to keep a child in you somehow think it is related to you.
So what exactly happened: as we know from the Jungle book, Mowgli a human boy lives with wolves. He has two friends, a bear, and a panther. He gets abducted by monkeys, is saved, but revealed himself and has to go live with the humans. His enemy is the Tiger Shere Khan who wants to kill the boy.
Two possibilities; Freddy and his friends might stand for the monekys abducting Mowgli. The ones that just wanted to play around with the kid, fooling around, stealing the bike. In the first episode they turned the car and looked at the kids. They lied about driving when they saw them and at school Freddy was forcing his friend to keep quiet, witnessed by Amelia. In the Jungle Book chaos ensued in the rescue operation and during this ( in the Jungle Book Mowgli even hides out in a farmhouse!!) Will might have died by accident, leaving Julie free to go.
So where did she go?
After Julie's disappearance, Lucy gets money to shut up.  And observing Lucy it is quite clear when this happened, right before the mysterious baby album appeared in the house, it is then that she starts to act shifty.
It seems a natural conclusion that she lets Julie at the Pink Palace.
But the Pink Palace period could have ended the night Will died. His death puts the spotlight on what happens to Julie, and that is why Lucy is being paid off, not because the Hoyts are involved in Will's death.
The second possibility is where Amelia comes in.
Wayne keeps asking himself what they are overlooking. "It is staring right at us." Well, what is staring right at them are the children's drawings. The pink room, the castle, and animals all pointing to Hoyt's mansion. When do children ever draw without eliciting some questions from the teachers? And where do we see drawings hang? In Amelia's classroom. And Amelia is an intuitive investigator.
Amelia admits on her first date that she twice went somewhere and pretended to someone else. She had some trouble in her past, Panter!! adjacent, so she has the smarts, cunningness to be the one trying to help our Mowgli. Those drawings are not hanging in her classroom willy nilly.
Who is also in her classroom? Freddy, and Julie's friend Mike. Our Luke Skywalker rescuing the princess.
Maybe somebody there heard the explanation for the drawings, was perturbed and took action.
Now, who gave Julie the dolls and why? The black man with the milky eye could have been the guy cruising around in the brown sedan with Hoyt's daughter, buying the toys, and dressing up like a ghost to give them to Julie. Again it is implied here that the Pink Room period was about to start after Halloween. Or the black man, who could have worked at the chicken line at Hoyt's and Hoyt's daughter could have already known Lucy and approached her at Halloween because they did know her.
But who tells the story of the dolls? Julie's friend Mike. And who did we discover works at the nunnery as a gardener, Julie's friend Mike? Of Ardoin gardening.

Mike could have gotten help from people at the church. They run nunneries, where girls live. So they all cast doubt on the black man and the white woman.
If Mike decided to rescue his friend, 1990's Amelia could find out the truth.
In this scenario, there is still the question of how Will died. It could have been the shitbird, Freddy. It could have been an accident.
Whatever happened, Will was not killed on purpose. Not the way he was posed. The people helping Julie are not responsible.
Amelia might find out what happened; she is the one that has an affinity to Mike. She saw the man with the milky eye. She is writing a sequel. Where this book? Why isn't it being read by Wayne?
If we go back to the Jungle Book for a moment: who is Shere Khan, Mowgli's enemy in True Detective? We have a lot of nasty people this season, Hoyt probably, Kindt seems a bastard, Harris is terrible. But whoever the real villain is this season, and remember it might be somebody who is not even responsible for Will's death, but could be involved with Lucy's death and cousin Dan ending up in a quarry. This person is putting Lucy Purcell in danger. So after Amelia finds out what happened and Mike's involvement. To protect Julie she might obstruct justice, to not let Julie be found. They might leave the killing of Will unresolved to save Julie and Mike.