Sunday, March 30, 2008


by Donna Weaver

I just don't understand
the delay. Get your warrants, and DIG!

Earlier this month, it was reported that human remains may have been found near Barker Ranch, once the hideout of Charles Manson and his followers. Barker Ranch now resides on national park property, and nearby Myers Ranch was once owned by a Manson Family member and also served as the cult's hideout.

Testing equipment from Tennessee's Oak Ridge National Laboratory indicated the presence of two clandestine graves and a possible third gravesite after search dogs from Mammoth Lakes Police Department and
Necrosearch--a nonprofit organization that specializes in locating clandestine gravesites--indicated the possible location of human remains.

But Inyo County Sheriff Bill Lutze stated on Friday that he believes further testing is necessary. In a written statement, Lutze said:

"Myers Ranch is private property, Barker Ranch is national park property. . . . Both are compelling reasons to be as cautious as possible and use every reasonable testing method available before disturbing the ground with excavation."

Last week
it was reported that former Inyo County detective John Little said he was told by his former supervisor in 1974 to investigate the possibility of 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 around 150 yards from the building," Little said. "At that time, there wasn't a lot of really good forensic techniques to find things. Imagine what you could find with the sonar stuff they have now."

Until the suspected grave sites are excavated we won't know for sure if they contain human remains, and, if so, how they came to be buried there. Whether or not these possible unidentified remains are victims of Charles Manson or his followers isn't the point. According to The Doe Network Unexplained Disappearances Geographic Index, in California there are 49 reports of men, women, and children who disappeared without explanation between 1944 and 1974, with a total of 901 disappeared persons up until the year 1999.

As a survivor of a homicide victim whose remains have never been found, I can tell you that statistics alone cannot capture the fear, horror, frustration, and pain felt by those who know and love a person who has suddenly vanished from their lives. There have to be several families wondering in anguish if their loved ones could be buried in unmarked graves in Inyo County, California. Those families should not have to wait one minute longer than necessary for an answer, and ownership of the property is not a sufficiently compelling reason to make them wait.


Kathryn Casey said...

You're right, Donna. They should be digging by now. I understand one of the Manson girls told someone in prison thirty years ago that "the family" left more bodies out in the desert. The speculation that the bodies were Manson-related led Sharon Tate's sister to accompany investigators to the site in a gesture of solidarity.

Then there was a report last week that this latest discovery might not involve Manson at all. Time to get digging and figure this out. While Charlie will undoubtedly die in prison, the Manson "girls" come up for parole off and on. The bodies in the desert could finally settle the issue.

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