Monday, March 30, 2020

The Unanswered Questions of the Spahn Ranch mini-raid of July 28, 1969

In the early hours of July 28th, about three or four Los Angeles Sheriff's patrol cars, at least one from the LAPD, and possibly two more from the California Highway Patrol showed up at Spahn Ranch, investigating stolen cars.  Only ranch hand Johnny Swartz was arrested--for having false license plate on his car.

There are a number of unusual things about this raid, leaving questions which were never answered.

--Was Charlie tipped off to the raid?

He was right there to greet the cops before they even entered the property.  From Sanders' The Family, pg250:

"He(Manson) had concealed himself and his dune buggy in underbrush near the turnoff from Topanga Canyon Boulevard onto Santa Susanna Pass Road, awaiting the invasion of hostile forces."

--How did Charlie get away with threatening the cops without getting his ass beat?
Box 30  pg112of738
Appellant Manson further said that he respected the police and due to this respect, he could kill Deputy Olmstead at any time he wanted.  He also said that all he had to do was to drive up next to Deputy Olmstead at a stop sign, stick a shotgun out of the window and blow his head off. ...  Appellant Manson said .. that there were guns trained on the deputies from the hills around them and that, at appellant Manson's command, they could be wiped out.

--How and why did the LAPD get involved?

"On August 1, 1969, your affiant received information from Deputy Samuel J. Olmstead, #2504, LASO, that at approximately 1:10 a.m. on July 28, 1969, he had received a call from LAPD Dispatcher reporting one of their units requests a Sheriff's unit on Topanga Canyon just north of Chatsworth Street regarding possible stolen vehicles. At approximately 2:30 a.m., Car 102 requested assistance from 100-5, 101, and CID units in the area. Unit arrived at location at approximately 3:15 a.m. and Deputy E.A. Loobey, #2585, advised that LAPD had run two vehicles at the Spahn Ranch, and both had come back as stolen.
Officer Williams, #13814, LAPD, Devonshire Division. Officer Williams stated that within the last two weeks(on July 28th) he and his partner were on duty at the Spahn Ranch in a marked police vehicle.

The LAPD admits they were at that time investigating the Ranch:
Your affiant has also learned that the Los Angeles Police Department Headquarters Auto Theft is also conducting an investigation at the ranch.

--Why did the LAPD only 'run' the plates on two of the cars there?  Did cops come back the next day to continue their investigation?

--Which two cars were they talking about? 

One is tempted to think at least one of them was Hinman's Fiat or VW van.

--Why would Bugliosi claim it was the Fiat that was seen at the ranch?

Bugs addresses the July 28 mini-raid on Spahn in a brief footnote(Helter Skelter, pg139), which says:

"...on July 28, two LASO deputies--Olmstead and Grap--visited Spahn Ranch on another matter. While there they saw the Fiat, ran a spot check on the license, and learned that it belonged to Gary Hinman."

  The Fiat

Every other account of the raid claims it was the VW minibus that the Deputies found at Spahn. But if Bugs had said that, he would have had to explain why they didn't notice that this car had been hot-wired.  Which would of course have been evidence that this was a stolen car, and would have been quickly connected to a murder victim.

It is probably not coincidental that Manson quickly got rid of the VW after this raid:
Mark Arneson got the bus for free from Manson in late July or early Aug. "Manson.... showed Arneson how to hot-wire the car and started it."

                                                        Mark Arneson

--Did Sheriff's Deputies Grap and Olmstead really fail to connect the discovery of Gary Hinman's VW van with the discovery of Hinman's body three days later?

Helter Skelter, pg139
"Grap knew Hinman; he also knew he was a friend of the people at Spahn Ranch, and therefore didn't feel there was anything suspicious about the station wagon's being there. At this time, although Hinman was dead, his body had not yet been discovered.
After the discovery of the body on July 31, LASO put out a "want" on Hinman's vehicles. Grap didn't learn of it, or Hinman's death, until much later. If he had known, of course, he could have directed the investigation to Spahn Ranch, and the Manson Family months before Kitty Lutesinger implicated Atkins and the others."

So Deputies Grap and Olmstead, of the Malibu Sheriff's substation, didn't know the name of a recent murder victim killed in the territory covered by the Malibu Sheriff's substation.  And didn't know anything about a BOLO/'Want' on the victim's two distinctive automobiles.  Which is no ordinary BOLO on a stolen car, but that of a murder victim--a murder victim that Grap knew personally.

And how exactly did Grap "know" Hinman?   Was it through official Sheriff's business?

The other seven to nine officers there participating in the raid didn't make the connection either.  Maybe the Malibu area at that time was a hotbed of murder activity, and the Hinman name got lost in the shuffle.

I find all this hard to believe.  To me this is just another example of Charlie using his 'Get out of Jail Free' card.

--Is the mini-raid the reason Charlie had Bobby go back to the Hinman crime scene to make sure they left no traces of their involvement, including removing the bloody writing on the wall?  Is that why Beausoleil, Manson, and Davis suddenly left town?  (All three were caught in the raid on July 28th.)

The raid occurred just hours after the murder of  Hinman.  Having cops show up asking about Gary must have seriously freaked out the killers.

Monday, March 23, 2020

The Ballad of Little Patty, Part One

Original piece is here. She does link to and credit us where appropriate:

She is mentioned only three times in the pages of Helter Skelter, her name spelled as 'Madaline Joan Cottage'.

She was present at the November 5, 1969 'suicide' of John Philip Haught aka Zero aka Christopher Jesus. Madaline (or Madeline as other publications and websites spelled her name) was allegedly lying in bed with Haught at the Venice Beach house where several were staying. Haught picked up a gun and said he was going to play Russian Roulette and then spun the cylinder. He fired, instantly killing himself, although when police were finally dispatched to the scene they found the gun had been wiped clean of prints.

There is one photograph of 'Madeline Joan Cottage' in the pages of Helter Skelter, as well. She is standing beside the bed of a pickup truck, during one of the police raids at Spahn Ranch. Squeaky, Brenda, Sadie and Katie are sitting in the bed of the truck but only Madeline and Squeaky are looking at the camera.

Patricia 'Katie' Krenwinkel (far left), Nancy 'Brenda' Pitman
(lighting a cigarette), Lynette 'Squeaky' Fromme (center, looking
at camera), Susan 'Sadie' Atkins (in corner) and Madeline
'Little Patty' Cottage, standing beside the truck.

During the summer raids at Spahn Ranch, the October raid at Barker/Myers Ranches in Death Valley and the police report from Haught's suspicious shooting death in Venice, Miss Cottage alternately gave the names:

  • Madeline Joan Cottage
  • Shirley Amanda McCoy
  • Patricia Baldwin
  • Linda Lou Baldwin

Of course, everyone in the Family had alternate names - nicknames, aliases, pretend names, straight names. As I wrote in The Manson Family: More to the Story:
Nicknames, false names, even switching names - these were ways of shedding their skins, discarding past identities. Nicknames gave them an amorphous relationship with one another with a titular head – Charlie himself - as a fixed constant. Charlie never pretended to be Bruce Davis, or Bruce Bluestein. Charlie was Charlie. But the others could reinvent themselves at whim. Every day they could be a blank slate. For them, there was nothing nefarious about these changes. For Charlie, it was another tool of control. 
- The Manson Family: More to the Story by H. Allegra Lansing, Published June 2019 from Swann Publications

Many accounts of the Family led us to believe Charlie gave his followers their nicknames. Sometimes he did (like Sadie) but often they were bestowed by George Spahn"... 
No matter who originated them, Charlie embraced the new names. After all, when you give people new names, you take away their past identity. They can belong to you. 'Oche' was probably easier to smack around than intelligent nature-lover Mary Brunner. 'Brenda' was stronger and braver than the surfing socialite Nancy, and eventually 'Katie' would be more likely to stab someone, than former file clerk Patricia Anne. 
- The Manson Family: More to the Story by H. Allegra Lansing, Published June 2019 from Swann Publications

When Sherry Cooper (aka Simi Valley Sherry, a 15-year old part-time horse groomer at Spahn Ranch) was arrested, she used the name 'Ruth Ann Huevelhorst' which was actually Ouisch's (Ruth Ann Moorehouse) married name. Switching names and playing with identities was definitely part of the Family's raison d'etre. But at some point, law enforcement did figure out who each person in the Family really was and the public learned about each of them.

That picture above of Madeline Joan Cottage shows her looking defiant, almost with a smile. Scrappy, short - maybe a tomboy? Her mugshots are even tougher looking:

Madaline Joan Cottage, aka Little Patty, arrested
in August 1969 at Spahn Ranch

Madeline Joan Cottage, arrested
at Barker Ranch in October 1969

She isn't one of Charlie's prettier girls. She was rumored to be one of Bill Vance's (true name possibly William Rex Cole) girls. She was called Little Patty and, according to her arrest record, she was indeed petite (just 5'2" and 100 pounds):

Shows 'Madaline Joan Cottage' as 5'2" tall, 100 pounds,
white female born May 27, 1946 in Sewickley,
Pennsylvania. The 'Linda LOJU' is a misspelling -
one of her aliases (given at Barker Ranch) was Linda LOU.

Allegedly, Ms. Cottage was also knows as 'Crazy Patty' in the Family and 'mean as a snake'. After her 'involvement' with Zero's death/suicide/murder, she left the scene. A passage in Ed Sanders' book The Family alluded to her having gone east with Bill Vance to Missouri and then having been hospitalized for a nervous breakdown.

s I began the process of researching this book (summer 2016), I was especially curious to know what had become of all the Manson Family women - obviously we know about the ones who were/are incarcerated (Susan, Pat Krenwinkel, Leslie, Squeaky, Sandy, Gypsy) but I was profoundly intrigued about the lesser-known women. The ones who haven't spoken publicly about their time with Charlie. The ones who have kept under the radar.

I didn't intend to 'out' anyone who has led a law-abiding and private life since the bloody shenanigans of 1969 but I did manage to locate some of the women. I know where Ruth Moorehouse is. I know where Mary Brunner lives. I found fairly solid traces of many others. But I never found anything on Madeline (or Madaline) Joan Cottage.

And then, just before my book went to press, I read this blog:

In it, the author documents a series of newspaper articles that were published in the Stanberry Headlight, a publication based in western Missouri. The author (Neal Sheehan - not the Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, but a local reporter who just happens to have the same name) explains that he heard, in 1971, that a group of hippies were running a local farm in nearby McFall, Missouri. He went out to meet them and interview them, and encountered three young people at this farm: two women, one man. The man and one of the women (a women who identified herself as LINDA BALDWIN) were friendly. The other woman, identified as PATRICIA BALDWIN, was decided UNfriendly, even warning the others not to trust anyone who came around snooping.

It turns out that 'Linda Baldwin' was none other than Manson Family member Claudia Leigh Smith and 'Patricia Baldwin' was our own Madeline Joan Cottage. The man was a young man from California - not clear who he was, but does not appear to be anyone associated with the Manson Family during the time of the murders and arrests.

So, we have two Family women using two of the aliases previously used by Madeline Cottage. Hmmm.

Then, to get even wilder, we discover that the farm is actually being leased by BILL VANCE aka William Rex Cole aka Bill Van Sickle aka Billy Vansicki aka Duane Schwarm or whatever the fuck his name d'jour was. Vance/Cole (personally I don't think any of these names are his true one) had gotten himself ordained as a minister from one Youth-for-Life ministry based in Florida. Then Cole rented the McFall farm and property under the name of Youth-for-Life, acting as Nubian Farms. They were trying to grow tomatoes and other produce, but the way they set up the plants wasn't conducive for growing and never bore much fruit.

Also, in this blog series, we learn that Sergeants Whiteley and Gunther (the investigative team for Gary Hinman's murder) arrived in McFall to try to locate the whereabouts of a recorded tape, purportedly in Cole/Vance's possession, which included an audio reenactment of the murder of Hinman by the Family! However, by the time the investigators landed in Missouri, Bill Vance, Little Patty, Claudia Smith and the other young man were gone. Ed Sanders later learned that Little Patty aka Crazy Patty had gone demented, burned down a building on the farm's property, and Vance  called her parents in Pittsburgh, who retrieved poor Madeline and checked her into a mental health facility in Memphis, Tennessee.

Vance and Smith, who had just delivered a baby girl in late '70 while living in MIssouri, had fled back to California where they soon married. Records show they divorced in '78. I know Claudia Smith's whereabouts, as well as that of her daughter, Dawn's. But again, out of respect, I feel no need to reveal that information. Dawn, the now-grown child, certainly hasn't done anything to warrant scrutiny by the Mansonphiles and her mother's crimes are long, long in the past (a drug arrest, among her Manson Family-related arrests).

But Madeline, Madeline - wherefore art thou Madeline? Will it CREEP you out to learn that one of the items that investigators found at the scene of the abandoned Missouri farm was a letter, sent from some Manson affiliate in California to the gang at Nubian Farms, which read:

That's really something Patty leaving. I sure as hell hope she keeps her mouth shut… Don't take any chance with Patty. I don't know the whole story but from what you wrote in the letter it doesn't sound too safe… You take it easy. Be careful. I don't know what Patty's trip is. Don't take the chance. She could (blank) you up. 
- Letter from an unnamed party, summer 1971

As my research went on and on, from 2016 into 2017 and even 2018, during the process of writing my book, it confounded me that I found literally ZERO trace of Madeline Cottage. Zero! Not one little whiff, not one iota, not one tiny clue. She seemed to have completely disappeared.

As I prepared to launch the book last summer, and found this information about the goings-on in western Missouri, I worried that Bill Vance (who was definitely involved in the murder of Shorty Shea, so not someone to be trifled with) might have done something to Little Patty? Was she silenced, so as not to testify about what REALLY happened when Zero died? Vance was also at the Venice Beach property when poor John Haught 'took' his own life. Is there any chance that her parents didn't send her to a mental hospital in Memphis but that something far more nefarious happened to this young women?

I'm a researcher, and one of my tools in finding information (and particularly people) is genealogy. So, I decided to try to discover where Madeline Joan Cottage was, by looking for her on ancestry sites. I tried both variants of the name Madeline/Madaline. I adjusted dates of birth, and locations. I included the middle name. I omitted it. And then I tried looking for anyone named Madeline Cottage who had been arrested under the names of any of Little Patty's aliases. Nothing came up under 'Shirley Amanda McCoy' or 'Linda Lou Baldwin' but when I searched for aliases under the name of "Patricia Baldwin" I got a 'hit' for a P. Baldwin, who was photographed in the pages of a 1964 yearbook in the Pittsburgh area.

I had to look at this photo a few times, asking myself - could it? Was it? Look at the eyes… the chin? Was this our Madeline Joan Cottage?

It is, folks. I have found her. Her name is or wasn't Madeline Joan Cottage. It is Patricia Joan Baldwin. Stay tuned - I have more to unlock and reveal! Stay tuned as we continue this series…

Patricia Joan Baldwin, 1964

Monday, March 16, 2020

Randy Starr's Grand Jury Testimony

Randy Starr was a ranch hand and stuntman who worked and lived at Spahn Ranch.  For a little background George Stimson did a piece on the blog about Randy HERE .
Randy comes into play because he was said to have owned and given to Charles Manson the gun used at the Tate house during the murders.  Randy did not testify at the Tate LaBianca trial because he became ill with an ear infection which went untreated and he developed meningitis and died August 4 1970.

Vincent Buliosi writes in his book Helter Skelter (1994 page 376, in the chapter titled April 1970)-
Another find was Randy Starr, whom I interviewed the same day as Ruby.  A Sometime movie stunt man who specialized in fake hangings, Starr said the Tate Sebring rope was “identical” to a rope he’d once used to help Manson pull a vehicle out of the creek bed.  Starr told me, “Manson always kept the rope behind the seat in his dune buggy.”
Even more important was Randy Starr’s positive identification of the .22 Longhorn revolver, for Starr had once owned the gun and had given it to Manson.
There is a footnote at the bottom of the page which reads-
The gun, serial number 1902708, had been among a number of weapons taken from the Archery Headquarters in El Monte California, during a burglary on the night of March 12, 1969.  According to Starr, he obtained it in trade with a man only known as “Ron.”  Manson was always borrowing the gun for target practice, and Randy finally gave it to him in trade for a truck that belonged to Danny DeCarlo.
Randy Starr testified to a grand jury convened for the death of Gary Hinman.  Charles Manson, Susan Atkins and Bruce Davis were the defendants and it was held on April 9 and 12 1970 in Los Angeles.  This is the only known testimony given under oath by Starr.
While Randy’s testimony does mention the gun, it is more focused on the knife used to stab Gary Hinman and found in Bobby Beausoleil’s possession when he was arrested August 6 1969.  

The testimony also focuses on a sword in Manson’s possession.  Starr says it was usually kept in holder in Manson’s dune buggy.
There is nothing in the testimony about the rope used at the Tate murders, nor should there have been because this was a grand jury for the Hinman murder.  Which makes me wonder why the gun was mentioned.  There was a gun used at Hinman’s, not to shoot Gary but during a scuffle it went off and struck the kitchen cabinets and wall.  The bullets that were dug out matched the 9mm Random automatic that Bruce Davis bought under a false name on July 14 1969.  Randy mentions a long barreled 9-shot revolver and a .45 but not a 9mm in his testimony.
All in all I went away a little confused by Randy’s testimony.  It seemed as if Randy was trying to take credit for having provided Manson with many of the weapons used in the Hinman and Tate murders.  I was unaware that the knife Bobby used had originally belonged to Starr.  
I have to wonder how Randy would have stood up under cross examination at a trial.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Stolen Checks and the Enigma that is Bill Vance

Among the newly surfaced images and documents is a property report for items confiscated during the Barker Ranch Raids.

This property report essentially transfers items collected in the raids from Inyo County to Los Angeles County to be investigated and used in future trials.  The transfer was made February 18 1970.

Listed among the items are numerous checks, some blank and some made out to specific people.  A Hedman Check Protector is the first item listed.  There are also office supply type items, OTC drugs, receipts, envelopes which are possibly addressed to certain people and the attache case where Shorty stored his guns.  Going down to item 29 on the second page of the report, a suitcase is listed.

The suitcase contains more checks, ledgers, a pink slip for a '55 Mercury,a hotel key, 15 Master Lock keys and various odds and ends.

Some of the checks were stolen from Spahn Movie Ranch and made out with the check protector to William Rex Cox.  Hummmm.... that sounds a lot like William Rex Cole.  All of the checks were made out in the amount of  $137.35 and signed by George C. Spahn. (More than likely George Spahn's signature was forged)

Numerous other checks were stolen from H B Irwin Plumbing Inc. located at 20555 Superior St. Chatsworth.  Some of those checks were made out partially or completely to James M Miller, John Phillip Haught and Dwayne Ernest Schwarm.  Manson used the last name of Miller on occasion, we know who John Phillip Haught was and Dwayne Schwarm was an alias used by Bill Vance.

Another slug of checks came from Oregon.  Some of them were from Lear Siegler Inc. Holly Division 7340 NE Sandy Blvd. in Portland.  Those, too, were completely or partially made out to James M Miller, John Phillip Haught and Diane Marie Von Ahn.  More checkbooks were found printed with the name Duane E Schwarm at the Sandy Blvd. address.

Duane Ernest Schwarm was a real person who, as near as I can tell, lived and worked for majority of his life in Oregon.  He married in Oregon four times, 1953, 1969, 1976 and 1982, and died in 2010.  He was born in Chicago IL Dec. 1 1933 and his first name was spelled Dwayne on his birth record but all subsequent records spell his first name as Duane with the same birth date.  There is no indication that he had any relationship to the Family.

Diane Marie Von Ahn was a Family member, she used an alias of Mary Ann Schwarm and she was from Gresham OR.  She died in a motorcycle accident in Oregon June 30 1972.  Her death record is in the name Diana Vonahn.  Her mug shot is #49 here.

What we do not know is how many checks Family members may have cashed before they were arrested.  It's probably a safe bet to believe that forged checks were cashed, Nancy Pitman took off with Bruce Davis because she was facing bad check charges.  The Missouri articles about William Rex Cole and his "flock" stated that Claudia Leigh Smith aka Linda Baldwin was wanted on some kind of check charges.  There may be more of those types of charges that we never knew about because stolen and forged checks pale in comparison to the murders.

On to the enigma of Bill Vance. Nothing has been solved but more information has come to light.

Generally when people take aliases they use a name of a real person.

Bill Vance had three different drivers licenses.

The oldest one was in the name of William Joseph Vance.  It was issued November 2 1965 and gives his address as Spahn Movie and TV Ranch on Susana Pass Rd.  Chatsworth.  On the application for the license Vance said he had a previous license in Tennessee and that it was lost.  It appears the license expired in 1968.

The next license was in the name William Rex Cole.  It was issued September 8 1969 and gives an address of Spahn Movie Ranch Chatsworth.  The application claims that his previous license was issued in Texas and it was lost.

The third license was in the name of Dwayne Ernest Schwarm, it was issued September 19 1969, just 11 days after the William Rex Cole license was issued,  This time there is an address in Reseda CA given as his residence.  The house number and street are redacted.  The application states that his previous license was issued in Oregon and, you guessed right, it was lost.

The birth dates on all three licenses are redacted but they all give the same general age.  The signatures on all three look to be written by the same hand.

What is interesting is that the Schwarm license uses Schwarm's legal first name though the checks are printed with the first name as Duane according to the report.

A little bit of research was done on the other two names.

There were two William Rex Cole's found but both were quite a bit older than the age on the license in that name.  One was born in 1917 and lived in Virginia and the other was born in 1919 and lived in West Virginia.  There was another William Rex Cole who was born in Arizona December 13 1951 and died the next day.

There were five William Joseph Vance's but one stood out to me.  When doing research on Windy Bucklee, true name Lee Saunooke, I found an obit for her step-father.  His survivors listed Lee as well as his wife Theressa Vance Longano.  The Vance name jumped out and I learned it was her maiden name.  Searching Theressa's family tree I found that she had a brother named William Joseph Vance.

Is it possible that Windy Bucklee supplied Bill Vance with the name of her uncle?  According to his driver's license he was at Spahn Ranch in 1965 and so was Windy.  Does Windy know Bill's true name?

Circling back to the stolen checks, if John Haught was indeed murdered, did it have something to do with the stolen checks?  Could he have expressed a desire to come clean to the authorities about the checks and, like the later murder of James Willett, was he  killed for saying he was thinking about it?

And, I think now we know the answer to an often asked question, "Where did the Family get their money?"  Steal, forge and cash checks.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Gary Hinman Murder Scene

Recently the blog received images that were used as exhibits by the Los Angeles District Attorney's office in the four trials for the murder of Gary Hinman.  The photos do not include Gary's body but do show blood stains.  There are pictures of various rooms in the house, Gary's prayer beads and the sword Manson used to slice Gary's face.  These pictures are very sobering and underscore the Family's capacity to exert brutality in the course of their crimes.

All of the images have at least a portion of an LADA watermark on them but it is an opaque watermark so it doesn't obliterate a major portion of the image.  The home is still furnished in the photos so you get a very good idea of what happened and where.

A few years ago Matt posted a link to an Associated Press video of the interior of Gary's home, the link at his post still works so you might want to revisit that, too.  In this video the home has been cleared out of all of Gary's belongings so you get a different perspective.

We will start with a couple of the tamer pictures.

This is what looks to be an enclosed porch off of the kitchen.  You can see the refrigerator in the window.

The dinette set in the kitchen.

Another view of the dinette set.

The dinette set again, notice the musical instrument case in the foreground.

Not sure where this is in the house.  You can see circles drawn on the floor near the wood stove.  Presumably they circled blood splatters.

The living room where Gary died. You can see Gary's prayer beads in the lower middle of the photo.

Another angle of the living room.

You can see a faint chalk outline of exactly where Gary was found.  His arm would have been where the right side of the first A in the watermark is located.  The prayer beads were probably in his right hand.

The prayer beads.

The knife found in the spare tire well of the Fiat when Bobby was arrested.

The sword that was used by Manson to slice Gary's face. It has been said that when George Knoll, president of the Straight Satan's found out that his sword had been used in a murder he became enraged and broke the sword in half.

In the interest of things not getting out of hand in the comments section regarding the letter addressed to Robert Beausoleil in Gary's home here are images of the letter, envelope and related documentation for its being entered as an exhibit in the first trial for Gary's murder.


Exhibit Log

Exhibit noted on back

Letter page 1

Letter page 2