Associated PressMar. 20, 2008 04:45 PM
FRESNO, Calif. - As investigators consider digging for bodies at a remote ranch where Charles Manson and hisacolytes once hid out, new information has emerged to bolster reports of possible clandestine gravesites in thebarren California desert, authorities say.An ad hoc team of detectives and forensic investigators visited Barker Ranch last month to test the soil for evidenceof decomposed bodies. Follow-up laboratory testing revealed that at least two sites could be unmarked graves, andthe group is urging local investigators to begin excavating.Former Inyo County detective John Little said Wednesday he was sent into the desert in 1974 by his former boss toinvestigate possible human remains buried at Barker Ranch."He said I should go up and take a look around the Barker Ranch and try to find four grave sites somewhere around150 yards from the building," said Little, who set off toward Death Valley first in a pickup, then on horseback. "At thattime, there wasn't a lot of really good forensic techniques to find things. Imagine what you could find with the sonarstuff they have now."Even though Manson and many of his followers had been convicted and sent to prison by 1971, Little spent part of the 1970s trying to tie together loose ends from the case. At one point, he came across a cache of canned food thecult members had stockpiled in the Panamint Mountains.Little doesn't recall what led his boss, then-Inyo County Under Sheriff Jack Gardiner, to send him in search of thegraves. But Paul Dostie, a police detective from Mammoth Lakes who was on the team that visited the ranch inFebruary, suspects Gardiner was tipped off to their presence by Dianne Lake, a former member of the Mansonfamily.Prosecutors say Lake's parents encouraged her to join Manson and his followers when she was just 14. She livedwith them at an old Hollywood movie set north of Los Angeles. It was there that Manson began preaching of anapocalyptic race war he said was predicted in The Beatles' song
Members believed they were a select group that would eventually come to rule the United States if they carried outgruesome killings that Manson ordered. After authorities raided Spahn Ranch, the Manson family set up alternateheadquarters in the Panamint Mountains, near Death Valley, at a dilapidated house on Barker Ranch. The clan was ultimately prosecuted for nine murders that took place in the summer of 1969.Lake was later arrested in a raid, and Gardiner and his wife took her in to "deprogram" her, said Steve Kay, theformer Los Angeles County deputy district attorney who prosecuted Manson."How would Gardiner know with such specificity the sites of these graves if it weren't for Dianne Lake telling him?"Dostie said. "It just fits too well."
New evidence suggests more Manson victims in Calif. deserthttp://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0320manson-ranch0320-ON.ht...1 van 231-7-2013 23:21