Audio Archives: Ruth Ann Moorehouse, Tuesday, December 30, 1969, LAPD interview in Inyo County – Part One

Friday, December 14th, 2012

“What do you suggest, that we sit here and sing ‘Garbage Dump’ or something?”

Dec. 17 – For this installment of the Audio Archives, we will travel back to December 30, 1969 and listen to LaBianca detectives, Sergeants Phillip Sartuche and Michael Nielsen interview Ruth Ann Moorehouse in Inyo County.

In this interview, Sartuche and Nielsen unsuccessfully try to get Ruth to talk about her knowledge of the murders. The three talk about Charlie Manson, Ruth’s nickname and her father Deane while Ruth bums cigarettes and a Milky Way bar off of the officers.

The detectives let Ruth look at a book of family mugshots. Pointing to a photo of Sherry Cooper, Ruth asks, “Where’s she?”

“That’s you,” responds Sartuche.

“No it ain’t,” Moorehouse corrects the officer and explains that Sherry would use her name at times. “But the last detective told me she was dead…”

For the purpose of voice identification, the first detective to speak is Sergeant Phillip Sartuche. The detective who says “another smoker, happy to see that” is Sergeant Michael Nielsen.


Ruth Ann Moorehouse

Ruth Ann Moorehouse, 17 years-old at the time of this interview, first met Charles Manson in 1967, after her father, Dean Moorehouse (a former minister) picked Charlie up hitchhiking.

Before leaving for Los Angeles, Charlie told Ruth Ann she could come with if she was married. A few weeks later, she married a bus driver, left him, and joined the family in L.A. She began living with the family at various residences, including Spahn’s Movie Ranch. The ranch’s owner, George Spahn, gave her the nickname Ouisch, pronounced üsh
…Learn more

Sergeant Phillip Sartuche

Sergeant Phillip Sartuche, 30 years-old at the time of this interview, had been with the Los Angeles Police Department for 9 years. Sartuche had been a 1st Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. and also received a Masters Degree in English from L.A. State.

Sartuche became a member of the Los Angeles Police Department in February of 1960. Before working on the LaBianca murders, Phillip had previously been assigned to the Robert Kennedy assassination case.


Sergeant Michael Nielsen

Sergeant Michael Nielsen, 35 years-old at the time of this interview, had been with the Los Angeles Police Department for 12 years. Nielsen had attended Loyola University studying Psychology, as well as taking police courses at LA State and Valley College.

As a Private First Class in the United States Army, Nielsen was assigned to the Heavy Weapons Infantry Company stationed in Berlin, Germany.

Nielsen became a member of the Los Angeles Police Department in October of 1957. Before working on the LaBianca murders, Mike had previously been assigned to the Robert Kennedy assassination case.

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17 Responses to Audio Archives: Ruth Ann Moorehouse, Tuesday, December 30, 1969, LAPD interview in Inyo County – Part One

  1. Lauren says:

    OMG hearing my fave Manson girl speak! I’m so excited!! I hope the audio sound is great! You rock!!

  2. Silentseason says:

    Really looking forward to hearing this one.

  3. johnnyseattle says:

    Hey CD
    What a find. I can’t wait to hear the interview. What a way for Ruth Ann to spend the day before Christmas Eve, 1969…

    Any possibility on getting any of the interviewee’s to comment today on what they said ‘back in the day’ to the police?

    I do have a question, as you have listened to the tapes which Detectives have impressed you the most? Same question regarding the Prosecutors.

    • says:

      I have a lot of respect for all of the detectives. These tapes are just a tiny glimpse into a large investigation. These detectives spent many hours talking to a lot of folks and know more about this case than we’ll ever know.

      I don’t know if I have favorites. What I appreciate are the little things. The casual comments that may not be particularly important to that specific conversation, but provide real insight into other things.

      I’ve been in contact with a few of these guys through the years. All of them have been very kind, helpful and patient with me. That said, many do not wish to discuss the case at all, which I both understand and respect.

      • johnnyseattle says:

        I appreciate your comments, CD.

        From reading the bio’s you posted, one can readily see that almost all of them served in the military and some of them had significant combat experience.

  4. dianne says:

    so so excited!!! I can’t wait to hear the other girls

  5. Poirot says:

    She’s adept at concealing her culpability. She has a coquettish schoolgirl’s nervous, frustrated laugh and is schooled in how to handle men. She plays the cool sexkitten with the soft childlike voice designed to mask her experience in crime that is beyond her years. She brags about having aliases. She probably never buys cigarettes preferring to bum them off men. She’s used to being hit on. The detectives quickly realize she is a skilled liar not worth any of their time. They saw right through her instantly. This con got her what she wanted though. They left her alone. She’s definantly in Charlie’s control and cares nothing about the Labiancas or Tates or Shorty. She’s a little cutie pie sociopath with not an ounce of human empathy. The murders do not bother her at all. She’s comfortable around murder and has no fear.

    • Silentseason says:

      Well put Poirot. With her fake little girl voice Ruth Ann was a real snake (irony intended). What a sick game the detectives had to play to try to get her to talk. Unlike Sadie, however, she was too intelligent to disclose anything of value.

  6. Johnnyseattle says:

    I liked the part best where the detective asks if Gypsy was the kind of girl who would lie and Ruth Ann turns it around and basically says we all lie….

    Now that she is in her 60’s, I wonder if Ruth Ann listens to the tapes today and does she wonder who the heck that little girl is who gets so excited about a candy bar.

    Was she playing the game as Mr Poirot suggests or was she just a scared girl in over her head. Maybe a little bit of both.

    • Silentseason says:

      Johnny, Based on the 1970 Hawaii trip I think she was game playing the whole time. Be careful of Manson girls bearing hamburgers.

      • Johnnyseattle says:

        Good point Silent Season, I sure wouldn’t want to be at a local ‘5 Guys and Fries’ and see Ruth Ann behind the counter asking me for my order…

  7. Johnnyseattle says:

    I am a huge fan of the Paul Harvey, ‘The Rest of the Story.’ For me, it is almost as fascinating how people live AFTER the event then the event itself. Especially when it is a criminal act 40 plus years ago.

    So I wonder if she ever apologized to Barbara Hoyt. And if not, would she ever consider making amends to her or is she content having escaped to live life on ‘the downlow’ out in the midwest. Is it enough to be let go to live your life on your own, a ‘do over’ if you will with no regard for the one you harmed?

    Surely it would have to weigh on your conscience somewhat. Even if you could try and put the blame all on being brainwashed etc, at some level you had to know that the person you were giving this drug to would suffer. Or that the person could have died.

    To me that would be the ‘acid test’ about Ruth Ann -pun intended. Did she ever make amends to Barbara Hoyt? The statute of limitations has passed and surely a letter of apology is the least that Ruth Ann could do on her part. Perhaps Barbara Hoyt isn’t ready to accept a sincere apology. Maybe Ruth Ann isn’t prepared to give one.

    Maybe Ruth Ann doesn’t give a damn and that kind of goes to what Mr. Poirot is pointing out.

    To Paraphrase a former domestic terrorist as part of the Weatherman Group, Bill Ayers -who is now a distinguished Professor in Chicago, who got away with a lot of criminal activity back in the 70’s, ‘Guilty as hell, Free as a bird, America, is this a great country or what?’

  8. lauren says:

    A while ago Bill Nelson had claimed she wrote to him and that they corresponded and how she felt awful about what happened and it emotionally damaged her but Im not sure if it was verified as actually being her. It could have been a phony.

  9. Gina says:

    Picture me in a chow hall with a bunch of other people who are all banging their trays in unison, chanting over and over…”We want more audio archives!”

  10. Ouisch Babe says:

    You should think about having it transcribed… most of the time its hard to understand what they are saying, especially since the volume goes up and down so much

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