September 11, 2019

Atlanta Reopens The Missing and Murdered Children Cases

This happened back in March but as real life got busy and in the way, as well as travels taking me out of the country for nearly all of May and into June, I am only now posting about this.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields reportedly made the decision to reopen the 40 year old (and nearly 40 year old) cases in an effort to take advantage of scientific and technological advancements as well as provide "some peace" and a sense of closure to the families of the victims that were denied that closure and peace when the State elected not to bring charges for their loved one's murder against Wayne Williams, thought by many to be the individual responsible for Atlanta's Missing and Murdered. Williams was convicted in 1982 for the deaths of Jimmy Ray Payne and Nathaniel Cater, both adults, but the prosecution used some of the cases of the missing and murdered children as proof of a "pattern" in the killings.  (For a more in depth look at the crimes, please see my earlier post.)  

For his part, Williams has publicly stated to the Atlanta Journal Constitution that he is "ready and willing to cooperate with any renewed investigation to find the truth on what happened with the purpose of straightening up any lies and misconceptions of my unjust convictions."   Is he sincere?  Will evidence clear him of one murder, two murders, all the murders, or no murders?  He has maintained his innocence since 1981, when he was stopped on the bridge overlooking the Chattahoochee -- but nearly everyone in prison maintains their innocence.

I said this back in my previous post about the crimes, I don't believe Wayne Williams acted alone or was the only killer stalking Atlanta streets.  Nope.  Sure, he could have committed some of the murders but I don't believe he committed them all.

So back to the reopening of the investigation.  First, it's about damn time.  There are so many factors in these crimes that were either investigated poorly or not investigated at all.   Too many of the victims were seen as runaways first and then just some kind of "by-product" of the street rather than children that were being snatched away.   The fact that many of the victims knew each other was either ignored entirely or swept under the proverbial rug -- which is astounding to me.  I remember being the in the age range of most of the victims and I remember how things were back in the early 1980s, before cable, before the internet and before cell phones.  You pretty much had your own "bubble" of friends -- those you went to school with and/or who lived in your immediate neighborhood.  Kids that lived a street or two over that went to private school, for example, I really didn't know.  I knew those kids that I saw daily.  So the Atlanta children knowing each other is a salient point because they didn't all live in the same neighborhood or attend the same school or were the same age.  Some of them reportedly did, however, associate at the same house where it was rumored child prostitution and pornography went on.  That lead should have been followed up and thoroughly exhausted.

Secondly, I hope that this reinvestigation is legitimate and that the so-called box or boxes of evidence that the State still has that's never been tested will be tested and provide conclusively whether the correct victims are on the official list and whether Wayne Williams was involved.

The victims deserve that and their families, who have been seeking justice, recognition and closure, deserve that.

To watch the press conference from March, go here.

What do you think?  Will the cases truly be reopened and will the evidence support Wayne Williams as a killer of some or all or his own innocence?

August 15, 2019

Terror in Gainesville, Part 2

*Last Sunday's night's program on "How It Really Happened," featuring the Gainesville murders of 1990, reminded me that I never did finish my posts on this case.   Apologies!  Rectifying that now.*

For part 1 of Terror in Gainesville, go here.

The 1990-1991 school year should have been the optimistic start to a new decade for the University of Florida.  John Lombardi was readying for his first semester as the school's newest president; Steve Spurrier was prepping for his first season as the Gators' head football coach.  More than 36,000 students had flooded Gainesville during August; by the end of the month, many fled in fear, leaving those who remained behind to sleep in shifts, huddling up into groups of as many as 20, some with baseball bats and other weapons at their side.  Many strung beer cans across their entries and rooms at shoulder level or placed plates on the floor; anything to give them some type of warning if an intruder should enter.   Some tried to make the shared sleeping spaces more of a slumber party, with food and even slasher films but many were terrorized and traumatized.

In just 72 hours, a serial killer had gone on a deadly rampage through the peaceful university town, leaving five students slashed, stabbed, and mutilated.  The streets that were normally teeming with young collegiate were now host to news trucks and various media outlets who, with the typical slowness of summer, quickly infested the area to broadcast images of grief-stricken and fearful students across the country.   As well as sensationalize every gory detail that was known then, reporting even more mundane ones like Mace, which had sole for $4.95 just a week earlier, was now selling for $25; and that UPS was rushing shipments of locks, hardware, and guns to the now-barren shelves.

Gainesville residents, some of whom had previously left their doors unlocked with a trusting nature that was no longer the norm by 1990 in most of the country, now shirked behind double-locked doors, turning on lights in every room of their homes.  The sound of a branch cracking or owl screeching sent them to their phones to call for help.  Once the police arrived, however, some of the same callers wouldn't open their door to the responding officers out of fear that the unknown killer was masquerading as law enforcement -- or worse, that the killer was a member of law enforcement.  Those who did open their doors to the police did so with drawn guns.

Summer nights, once a time to relax and enjoy cooler temperatures as the sun went down, were now dreaded.

Gainesville is a college town through and through.  There is pride for the school, pride for the football team.  If something affects the school, the town comes a calling and vice versa.  The city and the university banded together, enjoined in fear and worry.  For its part, the school offered to refund tuition to the students that chose to leave and for the students that chose to stay in Gainesville, did not penalize them for missing classes.  Lounge areas of residence halls were opened up for those students who were too afraid to go home to their off-campus residences.

The pressure on local law enforcement was immense.  Everyone, from students to their parents to the university, demanded answers as quickly as possible.  Local law enforcement, following the discovery of Christa Hoyt's body, had sprung into immediate action.  Gainesville's usual crime (that did not include murder) dropped drastically, thanks to the increased presence of the police, who literally looked to be on every corner.  The fact that many businesses closed once the sun went down, and the streets were basically deserted, helped.   For the authorities, on whose increased watch Tracy Paules and Manny Taboada had been massacred, there was a single-minded desire and determination to catch the monster responsible for the destruction of these students -- and anger.

Although some fiction books, television shows, and movies make the capture of criminals seems a relative breeze, the reality is that serial killers are typically not that easy to catch.  This was in 1990, when DNA testing was in its infancy, making their jobs that much harder.  Furthermore, serial killers not only escalate in violence as they accumulate victims but also in their methods and "education;" meaning that by the time they are serial killing, they become better at avoiding detection.  Serial killers also rarely stop of their own accord, leaving the investigators and P.D. in Gainesville to wonder not only if this unknown killer had struck before August 24, 1990 but when he might strike again.

As quickly as the vicious murders began in Gainesville, so they appeared to end.  Sonja Larson and Christina Powell fell victim on late Friday evening/early Saturday morning; Christa Hoyt on late Sunday morning; and Tracy Paules and Manny Taboada on late Monday evening/early Tuesday morning.  The city held its collective breath as Wednesday passed, then Thursday and then another weekend was upon them.  While news of the killings themselves were unsettling, the sudden abatement was nearly as unnerving.  Why had the killer stopped?  Were they still in the Gainesville area?  Was he only a weekend killer?  Would he strike again?  And if so, when?

On Wednesday, the day after Tracy and Manny had been discovered, Marcia West, the founder of Gainesville's first center for female assault victims, organized a march through downtown; the same day that the university and local police held a joint press conference.   It was announced at the press conference that some 100 investigators, forming a task force, would be working on the investigation -- the largest manhunt in Florida's history.  Those investigators who had worked on the Ted Bundy case back in 1978, after Bundy attacked four Chi-Omega sorority sisters and one Florida State student off-campus in Tallahassee, killing two, and abducting and murdering 12-year-old Kimberly Leach in Lake City, were asked to come back and assist with the Gainesville case.

While the investigators gave little details to the media and worried public, for fear of compromising the integrity of their investigation, by the press conference on Wednesday they already had what seemed to be a solid suspect in Edward Lewis Humphrey.

Humphrey, 19 years old, was a student at the University of Florida.  Six foot two and over 200 pounds, he walked with a limp from a car accident and had many scars on his face.  Described as a loner with very few friends, those that knew him said he bragged about being in the Recon and 82nd Airborne (not true) and that he stated he hated women.  He had done six stints in mental institutions over the previous few years, was known to carry a large hunting knife on his leg, and until the week prior, he had lived at the Gatorwood Apartments, where Tracy and Manny had been murdered.  His roommates had kicked him out due to his "acting crazy."  

John Douglas and Jim Wright, the two FBI psychological profilers who had been sent to Gainesville, to provide a profile for the unknown killer, believed that Humphrey fit the profile but cautioned detectives about releasing any information to the public, believing that such information might push Humphrey -- or the killer if Humphrey was not him -- to commit suicide.  

On Thursday morning, Humphrey was arrested in Indiatlantic for beating up his 79-year-old grandmother, who told cops that Humphrey told her she was going to die and struck her, leaving her bloody.  He was taken to the Brevard County Detention Center in Sharpes.  His grandmother, after receiving medical treatment at the hospital, then recanted her story and said she struck the refrigerator.

While law enforcement had maybe a dozen suspects they were checking out -- and SWAT, complete with K9s, was regularly swarming the southwest section of the city -- Humphrey was at the top of their list.  They found that more than 20 disturbance phone calls had been made from Humphrey's grandmother's house over the summer; many of the complaints had to do with Humphrey and knives.  On August 6, Humphrey had been arrested at Patrick Air Force Base for having concealed weapons -- a marine knife with a seven-inch blade and a Buck stainless-steel six-inch knife.  At the time, Humphrey claimed he wanted to swim to Iran to kill people.

The same morning Humphrey was arrested for beating his grandmother, the Orlando Sentinel ran a story that not only identified Humphrey as a major suspect but reported that one of the victims had been decapitated.

Already discouraged by a clear leak in the department, the initial questioning of Humphrey left more questions than answers for many.  During the interrogation, Humphrey insinuated that he had a split personality named John; that John had committed the killings; and he put himself at the Williamsburg Village Apartments at the time that Sonja Larson and Christina Powell were being killed.  He also rambled on unintelligibly and got many facts of the case wrong.

By Monday, Labor Day, the level of fear began to drop significantly in and around Gainesville, with students returning to campus.  On Tuesday, nearly 1,000 people attended the memorial service held at UF for the five victims.  On the 34th Street Wall, students painted a more lasting memorial, putting all five victims' names in big, white block letters with a heart underneath.   On Saturday, more than 75,000 fans - - a record attendance -- filled Florida Field to cheer on the Gators in their season opening game, where a moment of silence in honor of the victims was observed.

Gatorwood Apartments 
While Ed Humphrey remained in jail on a $1 million bond, search warrants were executed for his Cadillac, his grandmother's residence, and the Gainesville apartment he had moved to after being evicted from Gatorwood Apartments.  Knives and tennis shoes were confiscated to be compared to the evidence found at the crimes scenes.  In a pillowcase, three detective magazines were found; all contained articles about decapitation.

Investigators had relatively sparse evidence for the number of victims and the extremely bloody crime scenes.  Footprints had been left at the third scene.  They knew the killer had used a screwdriver to gain entry into both the Hoyt and Paules/Taboada apartments.  Unidentified hairs had been found in the bedding of both Christa Hoyt and Sonja Larson.  Semen and blood had been recovered at all three crime scenes.

The Williamsburg Village Apartments 
Pubic hair taken from Humphrey was microscopically similar to the hairs found at both the Hoyt and Larson scenes but it wasn't enough to warrant a conviction.  Florida, an early leader in DNA technology, hoped that tests on the blood and semen would lead them to their perpetrator.  From testing they knew the killer was a blood type B secretor.  Florida would run DNA tests against Humphrey once his blood work came back - - a wait of about a week.

In the meantime, investigators began checking other unsolved homicides throughout the country.  One that got their interest was a slaying in November of 1989 in Shreveport, Louisiana in which a woman, her father, and her nephew were stabbed to death.  Much like Sonja Larson, the woman, Julie Grissom, had been dragged to the end of her bed after being killed and posed, with her legs hanging off the end of the bed and her hair fanned out around her.  The killer had poured vinegar in her vaginal area and put a towel at her feet.  And as with Manny Taboada, the male victims seemed to be collateral damage; they were killed quickly and efficiently while the killer's rage was directed at the female.

Christa Hoyt's apartment 
Investigators also attempted to find any links between the victims.  Believing that Manny was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, they zeroed in on the female victims.  The found that on Thursday, August 23, Sonja, Christina, and Christa had all shopped at the same Walmart within an hour of each other; Christa had checked out at 4:51 p.m. and Sonja and Christina had checked out at 6:07 p.m.    On Friday, August 24 at 3:05 p.m., Tracy and Manny were shopping at the Oaks Mall; Christa met friends at the mall that same day at 6 p.m.    Sonja, Christina, and Christa all went to the All Women's Health Center.   And if race was any motive at all, Sonja, Christina, and Tracy had all dated black men.   The connections were tenuous but detectives worked them doggedly.

Friday, September 7, 1990 would ultimately be the day that would lead to major developments in the case, although investigators couldn't have known it at the time.

Forty miles south of Gainesville,  at around noon on Friday, September 7, the manager of the Winn Dixie grocery store in Ocala was held up, with a .38 revolver to his head.  After collecting money from the registers at the front of the store, the robber walked out the front door of the store and ran to the nearby Palm Chevrolet.

The first responding officers immediately noticed a man fitting the description of the robber in the parking lot of Palm Chevrolet, sitting in a silver Mustang that would turn out to be stolen.  When officers asked the man to put his hands up, he complied but then accelerated into traffic.  He would top speeds of 60 to 80 miles per hour, bouncing off curbs before striking another car.  He took off on foot but was quickly apprehended behind a flower shop.

Unlike most people who were handcuffed and placed under arrest, this one liked to talk.  He emphasized that he knew his rights but he wanted to talk.  He told the officers  his gun was still in the Mustang, he had stolen the car from Tampa and he apologized for the trouble he had caused them.  He also said he had shot his father.  

His name was Danny Harold Rolling.

May 4, 2019

Book Review: "Ted Bundy's Murderous Mysteries: The Many Victims of America's Most Infamous Serial Killer" by Kevin Sullivan

New from the author of the WildBlue Press classics The Trail of Ted Bundy and The Bundy Secrets!

Ted Bundy's Murderous Mysteries is a deep-dive into the archival record of America's most notorious serial killer.  It's a veritable goldmine of information on Bundy, his victims, and this very voluminous case.

Written by the foremost authority on Ted Bundy, this latest examination of this brutal serial killer contains new, revealing, and never-before published interviews with those close to Bundy, close to his victims, and a potential victim who barely escaped his clutches.

Ted Bundy's Murderous Mysteries brings to light for the first time many heretofore passed-over facts about Bundy and reveals previously hidden aspect of the lives of some of his victims.

     (Summary from Goodreads)

Ted Bundy’s Murderous Mysteries: The Many Victims of America’s Most Infamous Serial Killer is Kevin Sullivan’s fourth work on the devious and deadly Ted Bundy, behind The Bundy Murders, The Trail of Ted Bundy, and The Bundy Secrets.  I have read his three previous books (and really should write reviews because they are that good) and taking all four into account, it’s amazing (at least to me) that it was only a chance conversation that caused him to begin his research on Bundy to begin with.  Fortunately, he did have that conversation because Mr. Sullivan has quickly become a foremost expert on the serial killer.

One thing that stands out in Ted Bundy’s Murderous Mysteries, and the entire Bundy series, is that Mr. Sullivan will ferret out even the most seemingly minor details about the young women and girls Bundy abducted and killed, bringing life to them.  They weren’t just victims; they were daughters, sisters, and friends who had lives with dreams and futures before Bundy snatched them away.  While some true crime books glorify the killer or killers, relegating the victims to supporting status, Mr. Sullivan makes you feel (and hurt) for these precious women and girls that were lost.  He utilizes police reports, talks to persons who knew the lost, as well as to two survivors of Bundy’s attempted abduction and attack, and even shares personal writings.  As such, the victims of Bundy aren’t just Bundy victims.  They are real people and it makes the tragedy of what Bundy did even more heartbreaking.

This book isn’t for the Bundy neophyte; if you’re new to the subject, it’s best to start with Mr. Sullivan’s The Bundy Murders, where he recounts Bundy’s known crimes.  For those of us who have read Mr. Sullivan’s previous books and are up on all things Bundy, this latest offering is another well-researched and well-written book that delves into the fractured psyche of a monster whose depravity still continues to this day to have repercussions. 

How good was this book?  I purchased it on release day and planned on holding on to it for maybe two weeks, to take with me on vacation.  That plan lasted a whopping 48 hours tops before I couldn’t take it anymore and dove in.  I read through the book in under two days, unable to put it down.  I consider myself somewhat of a “Bundy scholar” (something that makes perfect sense to true crime readers) and I continue to learn new, relevant and fascinating information from Kevin Sullivan.

I cannot recommend this book, and the previous three, enough.  Reading them, you will gain insight about the infamous Ted Bundy, as well as the lives that his many victims were leading until they crossed paths with a killer, expertly relayed by the talented hand of Kevin Sullivan.

Ted Bundy’s Murderous Mysteries: The Many Victims of America’s Most Infamous Serial Killer is currently available for purchase in both e-format and paperback.  (Kevin Sullivan’s earlier Bundy books are also available for purchase as e-books, paperbacks, and audio versions.)  Don’t wait - - pick yours up today!

Follow Kevin Sullivan on his Facebook page, Twitter page, and via Wild Blue Press.

FTC Disclosure:  I purchased this book with my own funds.  I was neither paid nor compensated for this review.      

December 9, 2018

The Murders of Renae and Shannah Wicklund and Barbara Hendrickson

April 16, 1982 edition of the Walla Walla Union Bulletin
with news of the murders on the bottom of the first page

Renae Wicklund was 23 years old in December of 1974, married not quite three years and a devoted mother to her nearly 2-year-old daughter, Shannah.  The Wicklund family, which included Renae's husband and Shannah's father Jack, lived in Clearview, Washington, a community about half an hour northeast of Seattle, nestled between Woodinville and Snohomish.  Although the Seattle area had been devastated through more than half of 1974 by missing and murdered women (crimes eventually attributed to Ted Bundy), crime had not touched the small hamlet of Clearview or the Wicklund family.

Not until the afternoon of December 11.    It was unseasonably warm and sunny that day, a time of year when it was normally rainy.  Renae decided to take advantage of the good weather and give herself and Shannah some fresh air and time out of the house, while Jack was working, and wash the family home's windows.  While the Wicklund's one-story rambler style home sat on a good acre or so of property surrounded by fir trees, it was a Wednesday afternoon and Renae had little cause to be concerned or worry about her safety or that of her daughter.  Clearview was safe; nothing ever happened there.  Besides, the Wicklunds' closest neighbors, Don and Barbara Hendrickson, were within shouting distance across the street.

Renae first saw the man coming up the driveway.  He was young, very tall and had reddish hair.  She looked him the eye and he turned and headed back toward the road, leaving her to assume he had been lost or chosen the wrong house.  She had gone back into her home, to grab more rags to use to wipe down the windows, when she saw him approaching again, this time much faster.  Thinking that he was after Shannah, who was on the lawn, Renae ran back outside to grab the baby and flee back to the house and its safety.  She was no match for the big man, who forced the door before she could fully close and lock it.   Armed with a knife, the intruder demanded Renae disrobe and perform oral sex on him or he would kill her and her baby.  To prove his point, he held the knife against Shannah's throat.  Renae complied and once finished, her attacker left with a "Thanks."   She quickly got redressed, grabbed her crying baby, and ran across the street, where Barbara Hendrickson let the pair in and locked the house up tight.  Armed with a shotgun, she called the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office.

Renae Wicklund proved to be an excellent witness.  She gave a thorough and detailed description of her attacker, including that she had detected a faint odor of alcohol on his breath.    Based on her description, the detectives quickly narrowed in on Charles Rodman Campbell, who had been in trouble most of his life.

Born in Hawaii, Campbell was uprooted to Snohomish along with his sister, who was crippled.  Both Campbell children were taunted and teased at school; their parents, never much for the responsibility of children, soon left them in the care of their grandparents.  The grandparents, however, appeared to have little idea how to handle the children and Charles grew up to be a very angry individual.

School had little priority for him; he was more interested in drugs and alcohol.  His first arrest came when he was sixteen, after he stole a car.  The authorities, however, had known of him since before he began junior high.  His juvenile record was dotted with auto thefts, burglaries, and resisting arrest and he had spent time in a juvenile detention facility.

At 19, he married a 22 year old woman; they would divorce only 10 months later, one month after she gave birth to a child.   She would claim that Campbell both physically abused her and the child and neglected them.  She was awarded $75 a month in child support with no visitation rights for Campbell,.  By that point, Campbell had been charged with defrauding an innkeeper.  The following year, in 1974, he would be arrested for allegedly possessing amphetamines and in the fall, before he attacked Renae Wicklund, he would be charged with violation of the federal firearms act, criminal trespass, burglary, grand larceny, carrying a concealed weapon, assault and resisting arrest.

The charges from the fall of 1974 were still pending when Renae Wicklund was attacked and raped that December.

Although she had provided a detailed description of Campbell, it would be March of 1976 before he was arrested and charged with one count of first degree assault with intent to kill and one count of sodomy.  Renae, along with Barbara Hendrickson, testified against Campbell during his trial.  He was found guilty of both the assault and sodomy charges and was sentenced to 30 years, with a 7 year minimum for his attack on Renae.  He plead guilty to his outstanding burglary charge and was given up to 15 years, with a 7 year minimum.  It seemed that Charles Campbell would not be free for a very long time.

Renae's marriage to Jack Wicklund suffered in the aftermath of her attack; the couple separated and eventually divorced but remained friendly, with Renae and Shannah remaining in the Clearview house.  Renae worked as both a beautician and accountant for beauty salons.  Whatever help she needed, whether it be with Shannah or with household chores, was gladly assisted by Don and Barbara Hendrickson.

In December of 1977, Jack Wicklund became the victim of a bizarre attack in his home.  He recalled that a man walked into his home carrying a package, wished him a Merry Christmas and then tied him to a chair, poured gasoline over him and struck a match.  It was a miracle that he survived.  The incident left him burned and scarred over most of his body, suffering with excruciating pain and requiring that he wear a rubber body suit in order to protect his skin and minimize the formation of scar tissue.  He told authorities that the man who had attacked him was a stranger.

Only four months later, in April of 1978, the car in which Jack Wicklund was driving crashed into a tree, killing him instantly.  There were no witnesses and it appeared there was no other vehicle involved.  There was a dangerous curve on the road he crashed on, and it was where his vehicle had left the road, but Jack had traveled the road many times before and knew the curve was there.  Authorities never determined who had set Jack on fire in December 1977 or if the April 1978 car accident was indeed an accident, suicide, or the completion of the prior assault.

The terrible fate that befell her ex-husband left Renae with a constant sense of anxiety.  Her friends reported that she told them she lived in constant fear that something would, again, happen to her.

Renae had figured that when Charles Campbell was sentenced to a total of 45 years, he would actually serve every one of those 45 years.  She certainly didn't realize that his sentences were running concurrently and not consecutively, meaning the most time he would spend behind bars would be the 30 years for her assault and that he could actually be free after serving the minimum of 7 years.

Campbell was only 25 miles away, incarcerated at the Monroe Reformatory, a mid-level penal institution.  He had acquired a  nickname while there - - "One Punch," on account of his strength.  He bullied fellow prisoners and trafficked drugs while behind bars, something that the guards were allegedly well aware of.  Despite this, he would be granted work release, beginning in 1981, for good behavior.

He had apparently spent his years in prison not only continuing with his criminal activities but simmering with anger against the person he felt was responsible for his incarceration -- Renae Wicklund.

Tragically, Renae was never informed that her rapist had furloughs from prison and was, effectively, free.  She also had no idea that he had acquired copies of his trial transcripts that had her name and address, as well as Barbara Hendrickson's.

In early January of 1982, it had snowed in Clearview and both Don Hendrickson and Renae had noticed large footprints outside their homes.  Since her home sat off the road, the footprints frightened Renae.   Her dog, a large Afghan hound she had acquired after her divorce, had gone crazy, barking wildly around that same time.  As the dog rarely barked, it was upsetting.

As the authorities had not informed Renae, or the Hendricksons, of Campbell's work release, they also chose not to share the fact that he had been transferred to a work-release facility less than ten miles from Clearview.

On Easter Sunday of 1982, Renae was sick with what was diagnosed as strep throat.  Given medication and told to stay in bed, she was doing just that on Wednesday, April 14.  Barbara dropped by that morning, to check in on her, and found Renae watching t.v. and attempting to read a book.  She promised to return that afternoon.

Don Hendrickson remembered that his wife went to collect the afternoon mail and saw Shannah returning home from school.  She told the little girl to tell her mother Barbara would be over shortly to make Jell-O, as it would be easy for Renae to swallow.  It was 4:20 p.m. when Barbara asked Don if she could borrow his wristwatch so that she might take Renae's pulse and then left to head across the street to the Wicklund residence.

Don thought nothing of his wife being gone a little while; she and Renae were friends and probably got to chatting.  But by 6 p.m., when she had been gone for an hour and a half, he put on a jacket and went to the Wicklunds' to fetch her.  Seeing the sliding glass doors that led into the kitchen, where he would normally enter, partially open was the first sign that not all was right.  Entering the kitchen, he noticed a dining chair knocked over and heard the sound of running water, which was coming from the kitchen faucet.  Other than the water, the house was overwhelmingly silent.

He found his wife first.  Barbara lay in the hallway that led to the bedrooms, blood spreading out around and on her head in an eerie halo effect.  Her throat had been slashed so viciously she likely would have died from blood less within a moment or two.

Don found Shannah's bedroom empty but any relief he may have felt was quickly dashed when he entered Renae's bedroom.  Shannah, only 8 years old, had been killed as Barbara had.  The wound to her throat was so severe, she was nearly decapitated.  Her mother lay across the room, on the floor, nude and beaten.  She too had suffered a fatal knife wound to the neck.

The Snohomish County deputies that responded to Don Hendrickson's 911 call, as well as the city of Clearview as a whole, were horrified.  Brutal, gruesome killings were not the norm, and especially not to people like Renae and Shannah Wicklund and Barbara Hendrickson and not in the middle of a sunny Wednesday in April.

The investigators very quickly honed in on Charles Campbell.  Neither of the Wicklunds nor Barbara Hendrickson had any enemies and certainly no one that would wish such violence upon them.  Don Hendrickson informed authorities that the man who had attacked Renae back in 1974 was the only person he could think of that would do such a thing; Renae's other friends and neighbors recalled that she had been attacked eight years earlier and that she had lived in fear ever since.

The sheriff's office in Snohomish County was shocked when they discovered that not only had Charles Campbell been living in a work-release facility with little supervision located only two blocks from the county courthouse, and no more than a dozen miles from the Wicklund and Hendrickson residences, but the sheriff's office had not been notified that a convicted felon had been released to their jurisdiction.

On the evening of April 14, 1982 - - only hours after Renae, Shannah, and Barbara met violent
ends -- Charles Campbell returned to the halfway house clearly under the influence of alcohol.  When tested, his blood alcohol was nearly three times the legal limit and he tested positive for morphine, codeine, quinine, methadone, and cocaine.  As one of the ground rules for living in the residence was no alcohol or drug consumption, Campbell was carted back off to the Monroe Reformatory.

Having him returned to the facility made it easier for cops to arrest him for the murders, which they did on April 19.  Although Renae's assault back in 1974 had created little news, her murder in 1982 did.  Never a state known for its propensity for the death penalty, many residents in Clearview signed a petition at Rick's Clearview Foods, where both Renae and Barbara shopped, demanding that Campbell be given the death penalty if he were found guilty.  People reportedly traveled from all over the state to Clearview to sign the petition.

In May of 1982, Charles Campbell entered a plea of innocent in the three charges of first degree murder leveled against him.  His trial began in November.  The case against him was rock-solid.  A bloody hand print found in the Wicklund residence was identified as his.  He had allegedly stolen some of Renae's jewelry from the home, which he then attempted to sell.  His ex-wife told authorities that during the Christmas holiday of 1981, as well as the few months following, she had been repeatedly raped by Campbell.  When she had gone to swear out a complaint against him, the authorities told her the case would be too weak to bring before a court.  That had been in March of 1982, the month before the murders.

Perhaps most galling was the knowledge gleaned just before the trial about Campbell's prison record.  Rather than the "good behavior" he had been cited with, and the three minor infractions the parole board had been informed of, this "model prisoner" had been anything but.  In addition to the drug trafficking, he had also used drugs while incarcerated, had regularly gotten into beefs with other inmates, was known to carry a club under his clothing, had attempted to assault a female nurse when she refused him medication, had broken a lunch tray in two with his bare hands after cutting in the food line and had been cited multiple times for contraband.  Smaller, weaker inmates were forced to sell drugs for Campbell and often raped by him.  The guards at Monroe were known to be afraid of Campbell and had requested that he be transferred to the more secure state pen at Walla Walla.  Apparently nothing came of this request.

He had begun seeing a drug and alcohol counselor in 1980, while still at Monroe.  This female counselor had developed a close, personal relationship with Campbell that resulted in not only her quitting her job but becoming pregnant with Campbell's child.

The Washington State parole board discovered that, much to their horror, it was not only Charles Campbell's records they had not been provided with by Monroe.  Literally hundreds of prisoners had been paroled without their prison behavior being properly evaluated.

Campbell requested a change of venue before his trial started, wanting to move the case out of state, as he believed he could not get a fair trial in Washington due to all the publicity.  His request was denied.

Other than his desire for a change of venue, Campbell participated very little in his trial.  He refused to entertain the idea of testifying in his own defense and would not talk about the murders.   He did, however, according to Peggi Hendrickson, Don and Barbara's daughter, draw pictures of gravestones and hangman's nooses and hold them up so the galley could see them.

Neighbors of the Wicklunds and the Hendricksons testified that they remembered seeing the very tall man with a shock of red hair close to the Wicklund house on the day of the crimes.  Campbell's girlfriend testified that the day after the killings, she had noticed one of her kitchen knives missing.  She also said that he had "considerable resentment" toward Renae and had driven by her home several times while on work release.

The horrors inflicted on the victims was publicly heard for the first time.  Jurors and spectators heard of Renae's broken jaw, broken nose, broken ribs and a body terribly bruised, on top of being raped with a blunt instrument, being strangled and having her throat cut.  Shannah had lost so much blood from her wound, samples had to be collected from the floor.  Barbara's throat wound was so deep, her carotid artery had been severed.

The defense called no witnesses and presented no evidence.  They only characterized the case as a miscarriage of justice and stated their belief that the investigators had tunnel vision with the case and had not investigated anyone else after hearing Campbell's name.

His case went to the jury on November 26, 1982, the day after Thanksgiving.  The jury needed only four hours to find him guilty.  His detached and aloof demeanor, coupled with his absolute lack of remorse, helped to secure not only the conviction but the recommendation to fix the penalty at death. Campbell, during the penalty phase, had reportedly grinned at the jury while asking his attorney if they had to "go through all that crap again."

The killer 
Campbell was officially sentenced to death in December 1984.  For the next decade, the man who had no regard for the lives of the people he had killed, who believed he had the right to do what he wanted, to whomever he wanted, fought to save his.  In Washington, inmates on death row have the right to choose their method of execution from either legal injection or hanging; if no choice is made, hanging is used.  Campbell refused to choose, stating that it was akin to suicide and went against his religion.  That set off debate over whether hanging, given Campbell's huge size, would be cruel and unusual punishment as decapitation could very well be the end result.

The following year, allegations were made against Monroe Reformatory counselor Roger Button that he covered up certain inmates' infractions in exchange for sex and drugs.  Charles Campbell was reportedly one of those inmates who curried favor with Button.  These favored inmates also reportedly collected debts for Button, protected those prisoners Button liked, and beat up those prisoners that Button did not like.  Roger Button denied the allegations.

On April 14, 1994, 12 years to the day that he had killed Renae, Shannah, and Barbara, the state of Washington lifted its stay of execution on Campbell and set his execution for May
27.   Mike Lowry, then governor of Washington, was opposed to the death penalty but after hearing the details of Campbell's crimes, and meeting with the killer face to face, he refused to consider commuting his sentence to that of life imprisonment.  By that point, the remorseless Campbell had gone through some 15 attorneys and cost the state of Washington more than $775,000 in legal fees and care.

When time for his execution arrived, Campbell refused his last meal and would not get off the floor of his cell, necessitating the use of pepper spray.  He would not walk to or stand on the execution platform and so had to be carried and then strapped to a board.  He would not remain still so the noose and hood could be placed easily on his head.   He died roughly within two minutes after the trap was opened and offered no final words.  It has been reported in some outlets that the drop and/or Campbell's weight was misjudged, resulting in the prisoner nearly being decapitated.  Campbell was only the second person in the United States to be executed by hanging since 1965, when the infamous Clutter family killers of "In Cold Blood" infamy were executed.

New York Times, May 28, 1994
Family members of the victims had requested to view Campbell's execution but were denied.  However, Don Hendrickson, along with the son he had with Barbara', were there even though they couldn't see Campbell and Campbell couldn't see them.

After his execution and while cleaning out Campbell's holding cell, authorities found a four-inch piece of metal that Campbell had been sharpening into a knife.

Following his trial and before his execution, Campbell's ex-wife sued the State of Washington for negligence in allowing Campbell to roam freely and thus for him to rape her.  Renae's mother and Don Hendrickson filed a lawsuit seeking damages for the same negligence that led to the deaths of Renae, Shannah, and Barbara.  They were awarded $2.3 million in damages.

No one can say with absolute certainty what happened that April day in 1982 since none of his victims survived and Campbell chose never to speak of it.  Investigators believe that Campbell entered the home and attacked Renae, beating and raping her, before killing her.  When Shannah returned home from school, he dragged the child into the bedroom, forcing her to look at the remains of her mother, before he killed her as well.  He then apparently sat the in kitchen and ate a sandwich.  Either Renae may have told him about Shannah and Barbara expected at the home in an attempt to get him to leave, or he could have heard Barbara speaking to Shannah, or he just happened to be in the home when Barbara dropped by.  It appeared that Barbara may have attempted to escape, based on the knocked over dinette chair, but Campbell caught her and dragged her to the hallway, where he killed her.

The fear Renae must have felt is unimaginable.  She had lived with this terror since 1974, worried that someone else may harm her or Shannah.  But she surely never expected to see Charles Campbell again; she thought he would be locked up for at least another 30 years.  Did she know immediately he was there to permanently silence her?   Did she think he would assault her once again and then leave?  We will never know.

Renae Wicklund was a fighter.  She fought to the death, as evidenced by her battered and bruised knuckles.  She identified Charles Campbell after her assault and testified against him in court at a time when victims didn't always do that.  She did the right thing and the State of Washington failed her miserably when they should have been protecting her.  

After the slayings of Renae, Shannah, and Barbara, Washington enacted a law which would grant violent crime victims the right to know when their attackers are released.  Renae's mother Hilda was a driving force behind the law and she became an advocate for victims' rights.

Renae and Shannah were laid to rest in Renae's home state of North Dakota.  When Renae's mother Hilda passed away in October of 2005, she was laid to rest beside her daughter and granddaughter.

Barbara Hendrickson was interred in Lynwood, Washington.  Following her murder, Don Hendrickson became active in a victims' support group.  While there, he met Doreen Hanson, whose daughter Janna had been murdered in December of 1974.  The two married but would divorce only a few years later, as there was too much grief between the two of them.  According to Peggi Hendrickson, her father had begun drinking as a way of coping with his wife's murder and finding the bodies of the three victims and it was that drinking that led to his death.  Don died in January of 1999 and was interred next to Barbara.

Peggi Hendrickson's marriage ended in divorce, another ripple-effect casualty of murder.    

The little white house that Renae and Shannah lived, and died, in was reportedly torn down.  

July 16, 2018

Remembering Janice Ott and Denise Naslund

Sunday, July 14, 1974.  Bastille Day in France and an unusually sunny, warm day in Seattle, Washington.  For Washingtonians that are relentlessly outdoorsy, this was a perfect day to spend at one of the local lakes.

At Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah, roughly 20 miles east of Seattle,  some 40,000 people had descended on the park, including employees from Rainier Beer; Rainier was holding its annual picnic at the park.  By noon, the temperatures hit 90 degrees.

Jan in June 1974. She had less than a month to live. 
She's wearing the same shorts she would wear on July 14, 1974.
Janice Ott was one of the 40,000 people to flood the park that day.  Petite (only 5'1") with long blonde hair and grey-green eyes, Jan was still a newlywed, having married her husband Jim the year before.  A probation officer in Seattle, she had moved from the larger, busier city to Issaquah, feeling the smaller community was safer after her car was broken into.  She lived with a roommate, as her husband was in school in California, and was known for her sunny, bubbly personality.

Jan had spent the morning of the 14th doing laundry at her local laundromat and then having a cup of coffee with a friend she met and made there.  Returning to her apartment, she pulled on a black bikini, cut-off shorts and a white blouse she tied at her midriff, left a note for her roommate that she would be sunning herself at Lake Sammamish, and then hopped on her yellow Tiger bike for the quick ride.

Jan, who looked much younger than her 23 years, was such a pretty, sparkling girl that she was noticed by others, who watched her take out her towel, kick off her shoes, remove her blouse and shorts and apply cocoa butter to her skin.  Unfortunately for Jan, she was also a caring, compassionate person who, having studied psychology and the anti-social personality while in school, felt she could handle herself as well as lend a hand to others.

As she had been spotted upon arrival, she was also noted when, after being approached by a young man with his arm in a sling, she got up, re-dressed and left with him, pushing her bike.  It was around 12:30 and the last time Janice Ott was ever seen alive.

A school photograph of Denise
Denise Naslund had also chosen to spend this glorious Sunday at Lake Sammamish.  The 19 year old was a stunning girl with long dark hair and dark eyes.  A friendly girl, she had ambition to be more than just a secretary in life.  She was taking computer programming classes and paying for them by working as an office helper.

She had spent the earlier part of the day with her boyfriend of nearly a year and another couple.  The group had socialized, enjoying each other's company, and drank some beer and smoked a joint. When they decided to soak up the fresh air and sun at Lake Sammamish, they took Denise's car, a gift from her mother.  Denise's mother thought owning her own car would keep Denise safe.  The four friends arrived at Lake Sammamish in the afternoon, after Janice Ott had walked off with the mystery man.

The foursome, still high from beer, pills and the joint they smoked, had eaten hot dogs for lunch while at the park and then dozed off in the sunshine.  Denise had awoken around 4:30 and, noticing her dog, whom she had brought with her, was gone, headed off on her own to look for it and find the women's restrooms.  She was spotted in the restroom by a Seattle policewoman, who left the building at the same time Denise did.  She then vanished.

The man with his arm in a sling was noted by several women around that same time.  Denise's friends  would later say that Denise would always help someone in need and was friendly; more so, if she was under the influence.

Like Janice Ott, Denise had simply walked off, dressed in her blue halter top, cut-off jean shorts and Mexican style sandles.  The dog would return to Denise's boyfriend and friends; Denise would not.  She left them behind, as well as her car, with her handbag locked in the trunk.  

These most recent disappearances, after months of young women vanishing in the Seattle area, put residents on edge.  Jan was a mature and responsible woman; Denise had been warned by her mother of Washington State's missing women. Neither had a reason to voluntarily leave their lives.

Searches for both your women began immediately.  The lake itself was searched, as well as the park and wooded areas close by.  While many articles of clothing, underwear and bathing suits were discovered, neither Jan nor Denise was found, nor anything belonging to them.

Local authorities were baffled.  The killer had struck out in the open, in broad daylight - - the first abduction not to occur at night.  And he had taken two young women within the space of four hours.

For nearly two months, the fates of Jan and Denise would be unknown, until a hunter in Issaquah stumbled upon their remains and that of a third body, which would be unidentified until Ted Bundy's end of life confessions in 1989 where he disclosed the body had been that of Georgann Hawkins, who was abducted in June of 1974.  All three were found only two miles from Lake Sammamish State Park.

As is the case with other Bundy victims, the victims were overshadowed by the victimizer.  Jan and Denise were remembered more for their killer, and their horrific ends in this "double event" Bundy staged and committed, than the kind, generous people they were.  For the Ott and Naslund families, this tragedy was compounded by their daughters' remains being "misplaced" or "lost" by King County authorities when the department moved.

Janice Ott would never celebrate a second anniversary with her husband.  She was reportedly planning to join her husband in September - - the same month her body was discovered - - in California.  She never got the opportunity.  

Denise Naslund would never finish her computer course, never return to the bedroom in her mother's house with her guitar and stuffed animals.  Her mother would keep Denise's room unaltered, exactly as she left it, along with Denise's car parked out front, until she herself died in 2000.

Janice Anne Blackburn Ott
February 14, 1951 - July 14, 1974

Denise Marie Naslund
January 1, 1955 - July 14, 1974

July 5, 2018

Leslie Van Houten: Appeal Denied

Photo:  ABC News

In better late than never news, and I do mean that, Leslie Van Houten, once known as Lulu when she lived and conspired with the notorious Manson Family, once again lost her chance at parole.  (And when I say "lived and conspired with," I also mean "killed with.")

As you may know, Van Houten was recommended for parole by the California Parole Board last September, a recommendation that was shut down by Governor Jerry Brown in January.  Van Houten and her attorneys then filed a writ of habeas corpus with the Los Angeles County Superior Court seeking an appeal on Brown's refusal.  That petition was responded to last week with a 16 page ruling that stated, among other things, Van Houten "may someday be suitable for parole, when her commitment offense is no longer predictive of current dangerousness, it is not yet that day."  The legal document also called the crimes she participated in "among the most abominable committed in California in the second half of the 20th century" and Judge William C. Ryan noted "Petitioner's crimes terrified a generation and remain imprinted on the public."  Judge Ryan also pointed out that "if any crimes could be considered heinous enough to support a denial of parole based on their circumstances alone years after occurrence, they must certainly be the crimes perpetrated by the Manson Family."

Debra Tate, younger sister of victim Sharon Tate and now the only surviving child of Paul and Doris Tate, was quoted after the ruling as being "very pleased."  Ms. Tate says she believes that Van Houten is "as self-consumed today as she ever was, and that is the premiere marker of a sociopath."

Van Houten was 19 in 1969, when she joined Manson and several of his other Family members on their second night of murderous glee at the home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in Los Feliz.  By her own account, she knew that people would die that night and she put a pillowcase over Rosemary LaBianca's head and stabbed the woman some 16 times.  After the couple was slaughtered, she joined Charles "Tex" Watson and Patricia "Katie" Krenwinkel in playing with the LaBiancas' dogs, eating their food, drinking some chocolate milk and helping themselves to Rosemary's clothing.

Over the years, due to being the youngest convicted Manson killer and the argument that she "only" participated in the killing of two people, Van Houten has had more support for her release than other Manson Family members.  However, like Watson and Krenwinkel, Van Houten too has also laid the majority of the blame at the feet of the now-dead Charles Manson.  Last summer during a hearing to present mitigating evidence in Van Houten's favor, former Family member Catherine "Gypsy" Share testified that prior to the murders Van Houten was "extremely docile" and it was her belief that Van Houten would have done anything Manson asked her to.

If you've read my previous posts on Leslie Van Houten and the Manson Family in general, you'll probably guess that I'm okay with this denial.  I will never forget that Vincent Bugliosi, the District Attorney who prosecuted the Manson Family, stated that he believed that Van Houten was the least devoted of Manson's followers.  That's a frightening thought - - the least devoted of all and yet she would still kill for him.  (Unless of course that "kill for him" is utter rubbish and she simply wanted to kill.)  I also can't get out of my mind how Van Houten acted during the trial in 1970.  She giggled and laughed, even while the terrifying and painful last moments of the victims were being detailed, and when asked by her own attorney if she ever thought about Rosemary LaBianca, she said, "Only when I'm in the courtroom."  That coldness is what I believe Rosemary LaBianca saw, not the "extremely docile" person Catherine Share attempted to describe.

I've said this many, many times.  Leslie Van Houten, and all the convicted Manson Family members, were granted far more mercy than they ever showed their victims when the death penalty was declared unconstitutional in California and their death sentences were commuted.  Getting life sentences with the possibility of parole was yet another gift.

Were Leslie Van Houten not linked to Charles Manson and the infamous killings, do I think she'd get parole?  Probably.  But she is linked with Manson.  That will never change.  And the murders were horrifying, brutal and senseless.  Rosemary LaBianca was only 39 years old.  The last thing she heard before being stabbed to death was her husband, screaming in pain and begging for his life, while Tex Watson killed him in the other room.  An hour or so before she was killed, she was crying about the Tate murders the night before -- crying because she couldn't understand how anyone could be so cruel.  I have no sympathy for Leslie Van Houten; I reserve my sympathy for the LaBiancas who did nothing other than be home that night.

Van Houten's attorney, Rich Pfeiffer, refiled the writ with the appellate court.

Van Houten remains incarcerated at the California Institute for Women in Corona.

Rosemary LaBianca
December 15, 1929 - August 10, 1969
She is the victim, not Leslie Van Houten

June 25, 2018

Book Review: "Hunting Charles Manson: The Quest for Justice in the Days of Helter Skelter" by Lis Wiehl and Caitlin Rother

As Helter Skelter was the first true crime book I ever read, and one that will permanently sit on my list of best true crime books, I have a lifelong interest (sounds better than fascination) in the so-called Manson murders.  No book can truly be held up to Helter Skelter, nor should it.

Hunting Charles Manson is a notable and strong entry of the books on the infamous summer of 1969.  It doesn't cover as much ground as Helter Skelter, which gives us a lot of information on the criminal trial, but it also doesn't have its intimidating (for some) page count.

Hunting Charles Manson starts with background information on Manson himself, giving the reader an exploration of his home life, mindset and how he started down the road that would lead him to the Haight-Ashbury and the birth of "The Family."  I found the sections of the inception of The Family particularly interesting; the result is beneficial insight into why he managed to attract so many females to his coterie who remained loyal to him for years.

Many of his Family members are also given page time.  Rather than being portrayed as merely Manson's bloodthirsty minions, the authors demonstrate they were real people with real lives before becoming part of Manson's contingent.  It will make you think about what might have happened had they never met up with him; was the Family was little more than a drug-addled cult?  The authors' descriptions of daily life on Spahn Ranch are extremely well done.  I could visualize the hot dust blowing on the old movie sets and Family members grouped around, listening to Manson playing guitar.  It brings on a wistfulness -- even sadness -- that this communal living, instead of bringing love and peace, spawned violence and death.

The murders themselves are each recounted.  The details, if you are sensitive, can be agonizing to read and envision.  Gary Hinman, Steven Parent, and Donald "Shorty" Shea are often given the short-shrift of the verified Manson victims; Parent is the forgotten victim of the Tate-LaBianca crimes while Hinman and Shea are very nearly forgotten as victims at all.  More details are provided on Hinman and Shea as people versus just murder victims; it makes their loss, and the violent actions of Manson and the Family, all the more poignant and effective.  Thanks to this book being recent and published after Shea's body was discovered, a long-held legend within the Family that Shea had been "chopped up" into pieces and scattered in multiple graves can be discounted as well as providing a solid account as to Shea's final movements and day of life and who was involved in killing him.

The convicted killers' convoluted and tangled web through the legal system is also explored and this is one of two points in the book that I didn't agree with.  Sections on Charles "Tex" Watson, the man involved in every murder save Gary Hinman and the self-professed "right hand man" of Charles Manson, read almost sympathetically.  Even if you do believe that Watson is paying his debt to society and has become a born-again Christian, I cannot forget that he brutally stabbed to death Sharon Tate, who begged for the life of her unborn child, and then went on to marry and father four children while incarcerated.  I find that particular irony distasteful and revolting.  While Watson may have taken so many illegal drugs as to hinder his thinking, it didn't affect his ability to torture and kill and I simply cannot grant any sympathy to him; only to his victims.

The other point in the book that I didn't agree with - - and this is more my opinion than anything else -- is a motive for the Tate murders put forward in Hunting Charles Manson.  I've heard of the motive previously and this book does an excellent job in breaking it down and presenting it.  The problem I have with it is that it doesn't explain how and why Steven Parent became a victim, if you believe that Parent was the first person on Cielo Drive to die that night.  (And there has never been evidence to suggest otherwise.)  But again, that's simply my opinion and motive is something we may likely never get a firm answer on, especially now that Manson is dead.

Hunting Charles Manson does something that many books in the Manson library have not been able to do and that's provide a fresh look on crimes that have been written about, debated and dissected for nearly fifty years.    I appreciated the view inside Manson's life for the last ten or so years of it -- something rarely written about.  I also like that Ms. Wiehl and Ms. Rother showed the determination and strength of Debra Tate, Anthony DiMaria and Kay Martley as they attend and have attended parole hearings for years, speaking not so much of the ugliness their loved one experienced at the hand of Manson, et al. but of the precious memories they have of the precious people that were.

Hunting Charles Manson is an excellent resource for exploring the psyche of Manson in our quest to answer why.  Why did he turn out the way he did?  Why did he want strangers butchered?  Why does he continue to fascinate today?

I have been a fan of Caitlin Rother's books for years and made it a point to get this book solely based on her as an author.  As with her previous books, Ms. Rother presents the story and attempts to get into the mind of madness and answer the questions that puzzle those of us who have been fortunate enough to remain distant from the crime.  She is always respectful of the victims and their survivors, not glorifying the violence or the offender, and that is one reason I am a fan.  She's also a darn good writer.  For more information on Caitlin Rother and her books, go here.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Hunting Charles Manson for true crime buffs or readers looking for information on Manson and his crimes.  The fact the book features information from as recent as early 2018 is a bonus.

Hunting Charles Manson is available for purchase at major booksellers.

FTC Disclosure:  The review copy of this book was provided to me by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  The provision of this book did not affect the outcome of my review.  I was neither paid nor compensated for this review.