Two more killings spur coast manhunt
Monday, August 11th, 1969
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 11 – Police pushed a manhunt today for a suspect in the bizarre killings of actress Sharon Tate and four others five miles from where a couple was found slain later in a similar style.
“There is a similarity, but whether it’s the same suspect or a copycat we just don’t know,” said Police Sgt. Bryce Houchin.
At the scene of the second slayings, Inspector K. J. McCauley said, “I don’t see any connection between this murder and the others. They’re too widely removed. I just don’t see any connection.”
The man and woman were stabbed many times in their Hollywood home, Houchin said, the man’s head wrapped in a sheet, the woman’s in a nightgown. In the slayings at Miss Tate’s home Saturday, one victim’s head was covered with a cloth.
The latest victims were identified as Leno A. LaBianca, 44, reportedly owner of a small local supermarket chain, and his wife Rosemary, 38. Police said their bodies were discovered in nightclothes Sunday night by Mrs. LaBianca’s son by a previous marriage, Frank Struthers, 14.
Houchin said the two were “stabbed numerous times and their throats were slit.”
McCauley said the word “death” was written in an undisclosed substance on the living room wall. Other officers earlier said the words “death to pigs” were scrawled in blood on a refrigerator door.
At Miss Tate’s plush Bel Air home, the word “pig” was written in blood on the front door. The LaBianca residence is about five miles from Bel Air.
Earlier, police said they were seeking a man whose name “came up in conversation” with a 19-year-old caretaker arrested in a guest cottage behind Miss Tate’s $200,000 home when the bodies were found.
Slim, tousle-haired William Garretson was booked on suspicion of murder, but Detective Lt. Robert Helder said physical evidence to link him to the crime had not been found.
Garretson was given a lie detector test Sunday. Sgt. Jesse Buckles said homicide detectives were “not entirely satisfied” with his answers.
An autopsy showed that Miss Tate, 26, honey-blonde wife of film director Roman Polanski, died of multiple stab wounds of the back and chest. She was eight months pregnant with a child which the autopsy showed was a boy.
Also killed were:
— Jay Sebring, 26, hair stylist and former boyfriend of Miss Tate, dead of stab wounds in the body. A rope tied around his neck was linked to Miss Tate’s neck, but did not contribute to the death of either. They lay in the living room.
— Abigail Folger, 26, brunette socialite of the Folger coffee family of San Francisco. She was dead of stab wounds in the chest.
— Voyteck Frykowski, 37, Polish screen producer and writer, a friend of Polanski, dead of stab wounds in the body and extremities and a gunshot wound in the back.
— Steven Parent, 18, of suburban El Monte, apparently a friend of Garretson, dead of multiple gunshot wounds in the chest.
The bodies, strewn about the estate in fashionable Benedict Canyon, were found by a maid who ran down the road screaming: “There’s bodies and blood all over the place.”
Thomas Noguchi, Los Angeles coroner, said the victims’ wounds would not have caused instant death.
Miss Folger, clad in a nightgown, was sprawled on the lawn. About 100 feet away lay Frykowski, shot in the back. Parent sat at the wheel of his car, its transmission set in drive and the brake released.
“We have to assume there was an attempt to escape, when we find the bodies the way we did,” said Helder.
One of the clues in the case came out a blank. A red Ferrari sports car, missing from Miss Tate’s home, and suspected to have been stolen by the killer, turned up at a repair shop where police said a member of the household left it earlier in the week.
Miss Tale’s grief-stricken husband arrived in Los Angeles Sunday and went into seclusion. Officers said they would not be able to question the distraught Polanski immediately.
Friends said news of the slayings reached him at a dinner party in a London apartment where moments before the guests had been discussing the death of a friend.
Polanski had remarked: “Eeny, meeny, miney, mo. Who will be the next to go?” Then the phone rang, the message came.