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CHP Investigator Headed Early Probe Of Mansons

FRESNO, Dec. 10 – A Highway Patrol investigator who spearheaded early investigations leading to the arrests of a nomadic group called “The Family” in Death Valley said there was talk of a connection between the group and the Sharon Tate murders as early as October.

However, Dave Steuber, special auto theft investigator for the California Highway Patrol, said Tuesday at first “it sounded too wild, too fantastic to be true.”

Steuber began the investigation Oct. 2 after reports of auto thefts and the burning of a $30,000 National Park Service earth moving vehicle.

He said miners and others told of a “bunch of hippie types” who threatened them and forced them away from the area known as Barker’s Ranch.

Steuber’s men were among those who arrested 10 women in the area Oct. 9 which led to the arrest of cult leader Charles Manson three days later.

At that time they were charged with auto theft and receiving stolen property. However, this week a grand jury in Los Angeles indicted Manson and four other members of the family on charges of murder and conspiracy in the slaying of Miss Tate and four others Aug. 9.

Steuber said after the Oct. 9 arrests there was some speculation of a connection between the Tate murders and the desert commune group but said it wasn’t until Oct. 13 following a meeting with Los Angeles County detectives that “we formed a firm opinion there was a definite link between this group and the Tate case.”

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