‘No Comment’ Brings Tate Murder News Up to Date
Wednesday, September 3rd, 1969
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 3 – Sprinkling their briefing liberally with “no comment”, Los Angeles Police Tuesday attempted to update news media on the investigation into the Aug. 8-9 murder of actress Sharon Tate, three of her jet-set friends and an apparent bystander.
But the “update” was about as productive as the three-week old investigation into the bizarre murders.
Newly installed Police Chief Edward M. Davis and Chief of Detectives Robert A. Houghton sidestepped key questions about the case, but admitted to newsmen assembled at Los Angeles Parker Center, they had: No murder weapon. No motive. No suspects.
“The killer or killers didn’t leave a calling card,” the chief said with a smile, “so we had start with two million suspects.”
Houghton did confirm, however, that narcotics were found “in more than one place” on the secluded Benedict Canyon estate rented by the actress’ film-director husband Roman Polansky. He also again denied reports the victims’ bodies had been mutilated.
Miss Tate’s unborn child, he said, was not stabbed in the slaughter.
Besides the blonde sex symbol, those killed at the home were hair stylist Jay Sebring, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, Polish writer Voityck Frokowsky and 18-year-old Steven Parent, a friend of the estate’s caretaker.
Chief Davis, explaining that details of the crime could not be disclosed because it might hamper the probe – and subsequent criminal proceedings — said the staff of 17 sergeants, two lieutenants, a captain and an investigator, were doing “as good a job as can humanly be done.”
The police officials said the complicated investigation has led to the questioning of 300 persons both in the United States and foreign countries. No confessions to the crime have been forthcoming as yet, they said, noting 36 persons have confessed to the still unsolved “Black Dahlia” slaying in Los Angeles.
No comment answers were made as to whether any fingerprints had been found, whether the whereabouts of Polansky at the time of the crime had been established, on the blood type of the unborn child, whether the caretaker William Garretson had been definitely cleared, or on whether a Canadian narcotics ring was involved in the slayings or investigation.
Houghton, who heads the investigation, refused to give any description of the murder weapons other to say that firearms and cutting tools were involved.
The murder time, the detective said, had been established and “could be” between the time Garretson said his friend Parent, left, at 12 midnight and 2 a.m., the time neighbors said they heard screams.
By MARY NEISWENDER