The triple murder of Nancy Warren, Clyda Dulaney and her unborn child has captivated my interest ever since I learned of it. I research unsolved murders mainly from the late'60's into the '70's. I have done research for authors, news reporters and a documentary maker since I retired a few years ago. I don't do the research to make a living at it, that's for sure, but do it to help finance the non-paying research that I do. My focus is awareness, some of these old unsolved cases can't be solved unless people are aware the murders have never come to a resolution. Somebody, somewhere, knows something about each one of the unsolved cases but if they think that a case has already been solved or that it's been so long that nobody cares they are not going to come forward. Today's forensics make it possible to take a fresh look at the evidence. Many older cases have been solved across the nation, I have hopes that these cases, too, will be solved.
There are two main known suspects in this case, Donald Dulaney and the Manson Family. These murders could have been committed by someone else entirely, of course, but we can only consider these two at the moment.
Don Dulaney as a suspect is not unreasonable. There are pros and cons with him, the main con, I believe, would be that he was a cop. Would a cop kill his wife and child plus her grandmother just to get out from under any responsibility to them? Seems like an awfully big chance for him to take. Why kill Clyda's grandmother, too, if what he wanted was to rid of Clyda?
I've never been able to locate a marriage record for Dulaney and Clyda and don't think they were really married. She did use his last name but she was pregnant and living in small town Ukiah with family in the community. It may have been less of a stigma to say they were married. If they weren't married the most Dulaney would have been on the hook for is child support if he were to break the relationship off. I have been able to locate other marriage related records for Dulaney, his divorce from his first wife and his Nevada marriage to a woman about three years after Clyda died. I could find no marriage for Clyda and Dulaney though.
Johnny felt that Dulaney may have wanted to get rid of his mother because she had three young boys that he didn't want to support. In 1972 Dulaney married a woman who was 19 years his junior with three young daughters so I don't think that the children were an issue and told him so. He did not know about that. I asked Johnny if he remembered living with Dulaney and he said no he does not believe they ever did. He only remembers living at the grandmother's trailer after his parents divorced. That to me is also a clue that they may not have been married.
On the other hand, Dulaney's alibi for that night and subsequent later actions absolutely suck! But wouldn't a cop come up with a better alibi than the one he gave or have planned the murder for a time when he was not expected to be in Sacramento where dozens of other cops were suppose to be and where he would not be required to sign in so as to be able to give himself a little more wiggle room in the timeline?
Dulaney delayed speaking with detectives after the murders and lawyered-up almost immediately. He also took his time signing his statement to law enforcement once it was typed up. There was no mention of marks or scratches on Dulaney in the newspaper reports. It was reported, however, that Nancy Warren put up the fiercest struggle of the two women and that she had "physical evidence" under her fingernails.
Some members of the Manson Family were in the right place at the right time to have committed these murders. Later actions have demonstrated that that they were not above killing a pregnant woman. It would be in keeping with the Family not to kill the children. Two male Does and one female Doe were named in the civil suit filed by the Warren family, an odd combination at a time when not many females were thought to be aggressors in concert with males in crimes involving murder. The Manson Family sure changed that line of thinking. The civil suit was filed just before a one year statutory deadline to file such cases, before there was a hint of any Manson Family involvement in the Tate LaBianca murders.
Bugliosi's prosecution of Manson depended on him showing the jury that the others, Watson, Krenwinkel, Van Houton and Atkins acted under the direct influence of Manson. If murders were committed by the Family outside of Manson's direct influence, Bugliosi's case against Manson may not have gone so well. Could the Warren Dulaney murders have been swept under the rug to insure Bugliosi's prosecution of Manson?
Mendocino County Sheriff Bartolomie made an immediate connection to the possibility of the Family involvement as reported in the December 4, 1969 Ukiah Daily Journal once he learned of their activities in Southern California. He asked for samples of leather thongs be forwarded to him in the event any were found to be in the possession of Family members. As reported in a October 14, 1969 Press Democrat article the leather thongs used to kill the women were both exactly 36 1/2 inches long with a particular oil on them. That length of thong was unusual, the article states, and not an off the rack size for a bootlace. I seem to recall that the Family was friends with a leather maker in the San Jose area, Victor Wild, who I believe made Manson's leathers. Could the thongs have come from him?
I know that police reports are far better than newspaper articles when trying to figure out the who, what when, where and why of a murder case but it looks like articles are all we have to work with right now. What are some of your thoughts about who committed these murders?