New Leads Checked In Search for Attorney

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 10 – Detective investigating the mysterious disappearance of Sharon Tate murder trial attorney Ronald Hughes said Wednesday they are checking out “some new leads” and will resume an intensive search when bad weather clears.

Capt. Jim Richards, commander of Ventura County Sheriff’s detective division, said a search in the rugged wilderness for the missing attorney was temporarily halted by driving rain which muddied roads.

“But I think we will restart as soon as we can,” he said. “There are some areas we haven’t covered…We haven’t given up. We’re going to come up with something.”

Richards said some of the “new leads” came from a person, previously unheard from, who saw Hughes in the Sespe Hot Springs area of Los Padres National forest on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Hughes, 35, disappeared that weekend, and other campers who were rescued reported last seeing him that Saturday walking in a torrential downpour which washed out roads in the area.

Richards refused to reveal the the identity of the new witness, but said, “We are following up new leads he gave us.”

Richards said he was not discounting any possible lead and would also check out a newspaper report that a Chicago psychic has received “vibrations” telling him where Hughes is.

“I’m skeptical,” said Richards, “but I’m not overlooking anything…Our job is to find where he is, whether he’s alive or dead.”

The psychic, Joseph DeLouise, said he felt Hughes would be found “east of where they are searching now.”

At one point, during the search for Hughes, sheriff’s deputies reported that an escaped convict was on the loose in the same area where Hughes disappeared. He was never found either.

DeLouise also reported his “vibrations” to the newspaper two weeks after the Tate slaying and made predictions that five alleged “thrill killers” would be arrested — some of them young runaways.

His description closely paralleled the later arrests of Charles Manson and members of his hippie style “family” charged in the slayings.

Hughes, a portly blond-bearded attorney handling his first case, was representing Leslie Van Houten, 21, on trial with Manson and two more of his women followers. A new attorney has been named to take over her case, but court is recessed until Dec. 15 to give him time to catch up on the case.

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