“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
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.
OMG hearing my fave Manson girl speak! I’m so excited!! I hope the audio sound is great! You rock cielodrive.com!!
Really looking forward to hearing this one.
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.
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.
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.
so so excited!!! I can’t wait to hear the other girls
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.
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.
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.
Johnny, Based on the 1970 Hawaii trip I think she was game playing the whole time. Be careful of Manson girls bearing hamburgers.
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…
That’s where I disagree, I wish “5 guys” burgers were as good as the one Ruth Ann prepared. Mmmmm colors.
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?’
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.
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!”
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
You’re welcome to do it
PS: Hello Rachel, what’s up?
RM: Oh, Nothin’
PS: Oh, we’ve got a lot of junk in front of you.
RM: I’ll have a cigarette
PS: A cigarette?
RM: I’ve got one left.
PS: You’re lucky, the people I’m with today are all smokers.
RM: Gee, [unintelligible].
PS: How’s it going?
RM: [Laughs] For me?
PS: Making out all right.
PS: You don’t know all these people, do you?
MN: Uh uh.
PS: This is my partner, Mike Nelson, all right?
MN: Another smoker, happy to see that.
PS: And uh, this is Jim Reed, he’s uh you know the guy like in court …
MN: Yeah, no [unintelligible].
JR: Oh, heh.
PS: Okay, so what’s been happening since the last time we visited?
RM: Um, my mother and my grandmother telephone called, went to court and [unintelligible] …
PS: You really didn’t believe me when I was telling you all this in the car.
RM: [Unintelligible] ever again … [unintelligible] I didn’t’, I didn’t …
PS: You wanted to see the picture of you [unintelligible]. Doubting Thomas, I have to stick my finger in the hole … Oh well, I can’t say that …
MN: Which, which young girls is this now?
PS: Introduce yourself.
RM: Ruth Hughhoffer, Ruth Morehouse, and Rachel Morehouse.
MN: Oh, okay. You’re the Ruth Hughhoffer, we have a picture of you there.
PS: Oh, yeah.
RM: Oh, Can I see all of them?
PS: Sure you can, you know that … You’re true name Morehouse?
RM: Uh uh, I got married.
PS: Yeah, okay. Hughhoffer, that was just a two week affair wasn’t it, just to get …
RM: One day.
PS: One day, [laughter] I get my one day and two weeks mixed up
MN: The love died quickly.
PS: That was just to get out of the house anyway.
RM: No, [unintelligible].
MN: This you down here in the corner?
RM: Mmm hmm.
PS: Sure, [unintelligible] little girl … Who’s he?
RM: I don’t know.
PS: Who’s he?
RM: I don’t t know. They got released though … Who is she?
PS: That’s you.
RM: No it ain’t. She’s a girl … her name’s Sherry, she used my name. But the last detective told us she was dead so [unintelligible].
PS: What’s Sherry’s full name?
RM: I don’t know her full name, she always used my name.
PS: Give me that sheet there.
PS: That ID sheet, I’m sure we have a name on her. I think I have [unintelligible].
PS: Didn’t I throw it in there, the copy of it?
MN: [Unintelligible] I don’t have it here. You may have it there.
MN: Who’s that fella?
MN: Long live DJ.
PS: He looks different, why?
RM: Saddie, she’s in love with both of these guys. He’s a [unintelligible] he didn’t get arrested [unintelligible]. He left and he [unintelligible] Kansas and Texas.
PS: Lookin’ for him.
RM: Yeah, couldn’t find him.
PS: Took a trip across country. She came back though.
RM: [unintelligible] she came back.
PS: Yeah, we talked to her just yesterday … and that’s about it.
RM: Or the girl.
MN: What was the other girl’s last name that was using … you call yourself Ruth?
MN: Or Rachel?
PS: Busche, German?
MN: In Germany, all the girls, half the girls are named Inga and the other half … Heard the name Inga, heard the name Lotti, heard the name Lucy …
MN: [unintelligible] short for
RM: Yeah [unintelligible]
PS: A lot of people have been talking since I saw you last time. You know when we, the first time we talked, I said eventually they’ll all have something to say.
RM: Yes, [unintelligible]
PS: Yeah, that was back when? Gees. couple of months agothat happened. And it’s happened. Like you read in the paper, Sadie … Talkin’ up a storm.
PS: So the only two left, that really haven’t told us too much, not because maybe they didn’t want to, but merely because we didn’t have any opportunity to come up here …
PS: [Unintelligible] lot of [unintelligible] which you probably know … about the Tate case, the other two people that were murdered up in La Cielo the Labiance case, Shorty, the Black Panther …
RM: I didn’t know anything about all of those things. I told all of those detectives, [unintelligible] busted in the City and I came all the way up with Tex’s friend [unintelligible]
PS: Not even what Gypsy’s told you?
RM: Gypsy hasn’t told me nothin’
PS: If you say so Rache, should I believe you?
RM: That’s pretty obvious.
PS: So what haven’t you told us? Anything? That’s a general question isn’t it? Nothing?
RM: What haven’t I told you? [Unintelligible] custody [unintelligible].
PS: You know anything about that Tate murder other than what you read in the paper and saw on T.V. When I say ‘know anything’ not necessarily that you were there, but that one of the girls told you, or Charlie, or one of the guys? [unintelligible]
RM: I was always in the background [unintelligible]
PS: You said that last time too.
RM: [laughter] [unintelligible]
PS: You ever hear anything from any of the girls or anyone about the other two people that were killed? That [unintelligible] the paper calls him market owner and his wife?
MN: [whispering] You’re lying to him.
RM: No I’m not
MN: [Whispering] Yes you are.
PS: How ‘bout that Shorty? How about that Black Panther? Just tell us about it.
RM: I don’t, I never knew about him except [unintelligible]
PS: You mentioned you were downtown, you were down in Los Angeles.
RM: Mmm hmm
PS: And you never heard Linda talk about any murder.
RM: I didn’t know [unintelligible] I knew I’d be …
PS: Speak up.
PS: [Unintelligible] and you were [unintelligible]
RM: No, I was [unintelligible]
PS: [Unintelligible] … Do you think Gypsy knows anything?
PS: Did Gypsy tell you a lot before you got in jail here about the murders?
RM: Nope. She didn’t say anything.
PS: When you first came here, couple of months ago, and we sat here for three days I think Frank and I talking to everybody that had a deal then all the guys were here and there was a picnic basket and a dozen girls and they were all like … Rachel was here and all … ‘Charlie? He’s beautiful he couldn’t do [unintelligible]’ – He could.
RM: Well … I … see I still believe all …
PS: Oh, it’s true.
RM: Well it’s true, but he ain’t proved guilty yet and he’s [unintelligible] I don’t believe it.
PS: No, he’s not ashamed of it. He bragged about it. He bragged about killing Shorty. He bragged about killing the Panther.
RM: Oh, it ain’t like that. You know Charlie.
PS: I know Charlie. Charlie’s a con artist. Charlies the kind of people we deal with all the time, you know trying to sell the Eskimo new refrigerators. You know, the con man. He knows how to talk [unintelligible] look at the people he talked to? 16 17-year old girl just running away from home …
RM: I didn’t run away from home.
PS: I know, you got married and left. You had a little planning there.
RM: My dad knew him [unintelligible]
PS: He uh
RM: [unintelligible] shaken
PS: Shaken why?
RM: Everbody’s shaken wherever [unintelligible]
PS: What you going to do? Kidnap him? [Unintelligible] yourself, not us [unintelligible].
PS: What ah … Was your dad um … he knew Charlie before you [unintelligible]
RM: He knew Charlie when [unintelligible] before I before I could move out, um, he was in [unintelligible] he called me up.
PS: Didn’t he also call up Terry Melcher or wrote him a letter from [unintelligible] from San Quentin
RM: He ain’t in San Quenitn.
PS: No not in San Quentin, he’s in one of the subsidiaries.
PS: Susanville. Yeah I think he wrote a letter to Terry, Did he know Melcher?
RM: Mmm hmm.
MN: And he was a gardener too for Wilson I believe.
PS: Did he ever get involved in any trouble before he met Charlie?
RM: Yeah he [unintelligible] … oh before … oh he was, he was a minister …
PS: I know that.
RM: And then [unintelligible], and then [unintelligible] something shady about that …you know I was …
PS: Too young to know.
RM: Yeah [unintelligible]
PS: But he never did time before he met Charlie?
MN: The most beautiful person [unintelligible] … Everybody that knew Charlie seemed to end up in the bucket one way or the other … You bet. He may be beautiful but I don’t want to get [unintelligible]
RM: You got another cigarette.
RM: I’m all out. Part of the con.
PS: We even brought some candy bars if you want.
RM: Ahhh. You didn’t?
PS: We did, we’ve come to bribe you. How’s that. That’s an admission if I’ve ever heard one.
MN: I’ve been conned by the best of them …
PS: You want Milky Way
RM: What have you got?
PS: Three Musketeers
RM: Three Musketeers and Milky Way? I’ll have a Milky Way.
PS: I have a piece of Musketeer and I have a whole Milky Way.
MN: You better be careful or you’re gunna get fat.
RM: You know I believe you.
MN: One thing. After you open it up, I’ll take the wrapper.
MN: I doubt nobody put names here for giving you Musketeers [unintelligible]
RM: [Giggles] I think it’s mostly sexy.
PS: If you did know something Rachel, and you didn’t tell us if you …
MN: Well maybe you think it’s … excuse me, helping Charlie.
PS: But do you really think it would help Charlie by not talking to us?
RM: Well, whatever he’s involved in, you know, he’s involved in it already.
MN: Oh, he’s really involved without your help, you know that.
PS: You know, we’ve talked to a lot of people. Yesterday, we talked to two or three more girls. And they all tell us different things. And one of the things they do tell us is, you know, what they heard at the ranch, who was standing around when certain things were told. And, of course, your name came up quite a few times. So, we have a pretty good idea that you were around when a lot of things were discussed. And I just can’t understand [unintelligible] with the feeling that you have that you would tell us because Charlie’s in enough trouble whatever you say or don’t say that why you wouldn’t tell us anything?
RM: Why I wouldn’t?
RM: [Unintelligible] the other detective [unintelligible] but they sat and they told me ‘I drove Charlie’s car after [unintelligible] got murdered.’ Then they told me I drove Sadie’s car. I said, ‘I didn’t drive Sadie’s car’ He goes ‘you’re lying’. I go, “I didn’t drive Sadie’s car!’ And they come in next day, ‘You drove Sadie’s car, you know you did.’ You know. And they said ‘so many people said that I drove Sadie’s car.’ I didn’t drive Sadie’s car. And then, ‘we found your finger prints in it.’ Sure you found my fingerprints, there’s lots of fingerprints in the car.
PS: Did Gypsy tell you that she buried Shorty?
MN: She knows where he’s buried.
PS: Sure she did.
MN: She told you that. Right back here.
RM: No she didn’t it.
PS Why did she lie to us then?
RM: She never came up to [unintelligible]
PS: We talked to Gypsy’s in L.A.
PS: Oh, she yelled.
RM: She yelled?
PS: Oh yeah. Like a bird. Tell me now, would she lie to us do you think?
RM: If she wants too.
PS: Is she the kind of girl that would lie, you know her.
RM: We’re all the kind of girls who lie.
MN: [Laughter] Yes, I had that feeling. Amen, Amen. I had that feeling right now.
PS: Right, so nothing wrong with that. I grew up wanting to be John Wayne and Burt Lancaster.
PS: So, what would you suggest, that we sit here and sing ‘Garbage Dump’ or something?
MN: What kind of a guy was Tex?
MN: Yeah. Was he a likeable guy?
RM: He was kind of … he was a likeable guy … [unintelligible] he didn’t … he was kind of a [unintelligible]. I don’t know
RM: [Unintelligible] he was just over enthusiastic, He was [unintelligible] excited, he was always [unintelligible] excited.
I don’t know why people keep insisting Ouisch is pronounced “OOSH” when she clearly says “OOH WEESH” in this audio. The police just *thought* she said “OOSH” and repeated it wrong twice.
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