• Susan Atkins Taken From Jail Believed Aiding Evidence Hunt



Susan Atkins Taken From Jail Believed Aiding Evidence Hunt

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 15 – Susan Denise Atkins, the informer in the Tate killings, was taken from her jail cell Sunday, presumably to guide police and 80 Explorer Scouts as they searched ravines in the Hollywood Hills.

Although authorities maintained strict secrecy about the purpose of the search, it was believed the objects were weapons and the bloody clothing Miss Atkins has said was worn the night of the killings.

Miss Atkins, one of six members of a hippie gang indicted for the slayings, has said that the participants changed their clothes in the car they drove away from the Tate home in Benedict Canyon last August.

“We went for a ride to look for a place to dump the bloody black clothes,” she has said. “We drove along a steep embankment. I’ve got a picture in my mind and all it shows me is the side of a mountain and a road…”

“We stopped and Linda (Kasabian) got out of the car, I’m sure of that, and threw all of the clothes, all drippy with blood, and Tex’s (Charles Watson’s) gun and the knives — as far as she could — over the side of the embankment, down a ravine, I guess you’d call it.”

Sunday’s search yielded a rusty, unloaded revolver, the caliber unknown, in a gulch along Mulholland Drive, just east of Benedict Canyon Drive and about two miles north of the Tate residence.

Also found was a hypodermic syringe and a locked box, contents undisclosed. As far as is known, no clothing was discovered.

Arrangements for the search were set in motion Friday, when Superior Judge Kathleen Parker signed an order providing for the removal of Miss Atkins from Sybil Brand Institute for Women between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday.

Also on Friday, police reserved the services of Explorer Scouts from the Devonshire, Van Nuys, West Valley and North Hollywood divisions.

At about 8 a.m. Sunday, according to sheriff’s deputies, investigators from the LAPD took custody of Miss Atkins at Sybil Brand.

As detectives supervised the searching of at least three ravines by the scouts along Mulholland Drive, reports circulated that Miss Atkins was in the area, but if she was, she was kept out of sight of newsmen at the scene.

The scouts, taken to the area in three police buses, were on the job about six hours. Police officer Roy Van Wicklin said it was a “training” activity, and that the youths were looking for “anything that doesn’t grow.”

Much of the time Sunday was spent in a steep ravine, filled with brush and about 500 feet deep, just east of Benedict Canyon Drive.

An LAPD helicopter hovered overhead as the youths poked in bushes while they struggled up the side of the gully.

Whenever they found something, somebody shouted: “Freeze!” One of four policemen at the scene then made his way over to see if the object merited being picked up.

The scouts said they had instructions not to discuss their mission with newsmen.

“Is the Atkins girl here?” somebody asked Van Wicklin.

“I don’t know,” he replied, walking away.


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