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Where Was Serial Killer Leonard Lake's 'Torture Cabin' Located?
Leonard Lake and Charles Ng killed men, women, and infants at a remote cabin in the woods.
It's difficult to imagine that the kind of evil friends Leonard Lake and Charles Ng unleashed could happen anywhere.
But in California in the 1980s, the two murdered at least 11 people and potentially as many as 25 for both monetary gain and for grotesque sexual fantasies. They lured men, women, and children to a remote cabin where they tortured women and held them as sex slaves before killing them, reported ABC News.
These horrific crimes are explored in the three-part Oxygen special "Manifesto Of A Serial Killer" which premieres on Sunday, January 1 at 7/6c on Oxygen. But where exactly did they happen?
Lake and Ng, both ex-Marines, connected over their disturbing fantasies of torture and murder. Lake was obsessed in particular with the John Fowles book “The Collector,” where a butterfly collector eventually kidnaps a woman and holds her captive, according to The Los Angeles Times. The pair decided to fulfill their obsession while living together in Wilseyville, California.
The town was where Lake's ex-wife, Claralyn Balazs, owned a cabin in the remote foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Balazs, who was still on good terms with Lake, let him live there, reported The Los Angeles Times.
On the property, Lake constructed a cinder-block bunker for he and Ng to hold women hostage.
From 1984 to 1985, the men lured victims, typically from the Bay Area, to the cabin. They killed the men and the babies, but would hold the women captive in the bunker, where they videotaped themselves as they raped and tortured the women before killing them.
Lake and Ng were caught in 1985 after a shoplifting incident exposed them to police. While Ng was able to temporarily flee to Canada, Lake killed himself while in custody by taking a cyanide pill, according to The Los Angeles Times. But authorities found the evidence of their horrific crime spree when they arrived at the Wilseyville cabin.
There, they found the bunker and over 40 pounds of charred bone fragments and teeth, as well as a diary and videotapes Lake kept documenting the pair's crimes.
The murders shocked the surrounding community as "Lake was known around the foothill towns as a man who attended Bible classes and held yard sales at the home," The Los Angeles Times reported.
Balazs also claimed not to know what her ex-husband had been doing on her property. She was never charged with any crime.
Ng was ultimately apprehended in Canada and extradited to the United States, where he was charged with 12 counts of murder. He was convicted in 1999 on 11 counts of murder for the murders of six men, three women, and two baby boys, reported The New York Post.
While the bunker was destroyed, the cabin remained standing, The Los Angeles Times noted. In fact, in 1993, the new owners even found the body of another victim on the residence's grounds. It was Charles Gunnar, the person who had been best man at Lake's wedding.
Watch the three-part special "Manifesto Of A Serial Killer" when it premieres on Sunday, January 1 at 7/6c on Oxygen.