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All In The Family: What Happened To The Non-Jailed Members Of Charles Manson's Cult?
While some former members of Manson's followers have spent time behind bars, others have gone on to live seemingly normal lives.
Charles Manson’s cultish “family” stepped into the pop-cultural limelight following the August 1969 murder of actress Sharon Tate and four others at director Roman Polanski’s house. Patricia Krenwinkel, Leslie Van Houten, and Charles "Tex" Watson, have spent decades behind bars for the savage murders they committed at the behest of their diabolical leader, while Susan Atkins, who held down a pregnant Tate while Watson stabbed her to death, died in prison in 2009 due to brain cancer.
But while those four family members were implicated for their roles in the Los Angeles mansion massacre or later murders, Manson’s cult at one time included roughly 100 members.
Since their leader's arrest and subsequent death behind bars in the Fall of 2017, those who used to consider themselves at home with the charismatic cult leader went on to lead private lives—some later getting in trouble with the law, and others assuming regular lives that left little trace of their past. Another formed an unlikely bond with a family member of one of the massacre's victim before she died.
Here's what we know about members of Manson's family who did not serve time for the now-infamous murders:
Linda Kasabian: Although Linda Kasabian (pictured above, in a photo from 1977) drove the getaway car the night Tate, Wojciech Frykowski, Abigail Folger, and Jay Sebring were brutally murdered in Tate's Benedict Canyon home, she received immunity for the crime in exchange for her testimony.
After years of silence, Kasabian spoke about the crimes in a 2009 docu-drama called “Manson,” according to a 2009 article in the Guardian newspaper.
Kasabian, who had joined the Manson Family at Spahn Ranch at the age of 20, spent just four weeks living with the family but they'd be weeks that would forever change the course of her life.
Kasabian already had a daughter and was pregnant with her second child when she arrived at Spahn Ranch, but would later go on to have two more children.
The night of the massacre, she said she waited outside the home while the murders occurred.
"I saw a woman in a white dress and she had blood all over her and she was screaming and she was calling for her mom," Kasabian said, as quoted by the Guardian.
Kasabian added that she had been "excited" to be picked to go on the trip to the home, but later considered going to a nearby house with a light on for help. Instead, she went back to the car and waited.
"I could never accept the fact that I was not punished for my involvement," she said, according to The Guardian. "I felt then what I feel now, always and forever, that it was a waste of life that had no reason, no rhyme."
She also drove Manson, Watson, Atkins, Krenwinkel, Van Houten and Steve Grogan to the home of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca the next night. Manson ordered Watson, Krenwinkel, and Van Houten to go inside and stab the couple. Using the victim's blood they wrote "Death to Pigs" and "Helter Skelter" on the wall, the Daily Mail reports.
That same night, Manson ordered Kasabian to drive to the home of actor Saladin Nader, but she'd later testify that she purposely knocked on the wrong door so that the group would abandon their plan, the news organization said.
After serving as the prosecution's key witness—testifying for 18 days during the Tate-LaBianca murder trial—Kasabian moved to a hippie commune in New Hampshire and would go on to change her name to Christian to avoid unwanted attention. In 2017, the Daily Mail reported that she was living under the last name Chiochios in a low income apartment complex in Tacoma, Washington.
Her life, however, has been punctuated by several arrests since the infamous murders, including a 1982 charge for indecent exposure after flashing her breasts, and a DUI charge in 1987, the Daily Mail reports.
She was arrested again with daughter, Quanu, in 1996 in Washington and was charged with possession of methamphetamine and cocaine, though the charges against her were dismissed with prejudice after she agreed to seek treatment.
In 2009, she told Larry King in an interview that she was "trying to live as normal a life as possible."
Her neighbors in Washington said the now grandma typically keeps to herself, The Daily Mail said.
Catherine "Gypsy" Share: The once-devoted Manson follower has now become an outspoken advocate for others who were unable to escape the leader’s powerful hold.
In 2017, Share (pictured in the photo below on the far-right, holding Sandra Good's son, Ivan, in 1970) told a Los Angeles Superior Court judge during a parole hearing for Van Houten that the cult leader once beat her, and promised another male cult member he would hunt her down if she ever tried to break away, according to the Associated Press.
“Some people could not leave. I was one of them that could not leave,” Share said, according to AP. "I don't think [Van Houten] felt like she was free to leave."
Despite the testimony, Van Houten's parole was denied.
Prior to the hearing, she had taken other opportunities to disclose details about the powerful influence Manson had on the impressionable youth who followed him.
"Manson made a lot of victims besides the ones he killed," she said in a 2009 article by Cleveland.com. ''He destroyed lives. There are people sitting in prison who wouldn't be there except for him. He took all of our lives."
Although she didn't participate in the murders, Share acknowledged that she was one well-timed Manson request away from becoming a killer, saying, "I was just short of murdering for him."
Share would later go on to serve five years in prison after committing a robbery with other Manson family members.
She also served time later for credit card fraud, before finding Christianity and working in retail, Cleveland.com reported.
Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme: Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme (pictured far-left in the photo above) has been called one of Manson's most devoted followers.
After his arrest, she camped outside the courthouse during his trial and carved an "X" into her forehead to match the one Manson had carved on his own head to symbolize that he'd dropped out of society, ABC News reported. (Manson would later famously change the “x” to a Nazi swastika.)
She'd also go on to serve time in prison after a failed attempt to assassinate President Gerald Ford with a semi-automatic .45-caliber pistol on Sept. 5, 1975.
Sentenced to life in prison, Fromme once broke out for a short period of time in 1987 "in an attempt to reach Manson," according to ABC News, after hearing the cult leader had testicular cancer. She was apprehended two days later, and would go on to serve her out her sentence until she was paroled in 2009.
In July, Radar.com reported that Fromme, now 70, is living in Upstate New York with a convicted felon.
Sandra Good: Good (picture second from left in the photo above) was also never directly implicated in the murders, but would go on to spend time in prison following Manson's arrest.
She was convicted in 1976 of sending threatening letters through the mail and making telephone threats, the Sacramento Bee reported at the time.
At her sentencing along with fellow family member Susan Murphy, Good, dressed in a royal blue robe, told the judge, “I cannot bear to be outside your society…I want to be inside with my family,” according to the Sac Bee.
She was later released from prison in 1985 after she and Steve Grogan helped authorities find the body of Donald Shea, who is believed to be Manson's final victim, the BBC reported.
She reportedly remained a devout follower of Manson, even maintaining a website devoted to the cult leader that was active as recent as 2001, according to ABC News.
Barbara Hoyt: Hoyt (pictured at right in the above photo from 1970) was once a carefree 17-year-old who happened to meet the Manson family while eating lunch under a tree, following a bad argument with her dad.
"I met Charlie the next morning," she said, according to Cleveland.com. "He took me for a motorcycle ride and we went for doughnuts. He was very nice. I thought he was pretty neat."
But decades later, she remains haunted by the devastation the family caused.
"I never have a day go by that I don't think about it, especially about the victims," she said, as quoted by Cleveland.com. "I've long ago accepted the fact it will never go away."
Like Kasabian, Hoyt served as a key witness for the prosecution during the murder trial. Initially, she had reservations about testifying, but after she said another follower tried to kill her with a hamburger heavily laced with LSD, she was even more committed to speaking out, according to Atlas Obscura.
She'd later go on to college and become a nurse. She also eventually formed a friendship with Debra Tate, Sharon’s little sister, later in life.
“We’ve got a lot in common,” Hoyt told the San Diego Tribune in 2012. “She has been a big help to me.”
Hoyt died in December 2017 due to kidney failure.
Dianne Lake: Dianne Lake was just 14-years-old when she joined the family.
Her parents, two hippies who had turned their back on society in favor of a more-free, LSD-fuelled lifestyle, had been living at a commune called the Hog Farm. However, Lake told ELLE magazine she wasn’t welcome there because she was 16 years old and sexually active, therefore making her “jailbait” for other members of the commune.
As a result, she was immediately intrigued when she met Manson at a party in 1967.
"Charlie adored me which, of course, was very flattering," she told ELLE. "And straight away the Family welcomed me with open arms. There was something different about this group, and I knew immediately I wanted to be part of it."
Lake, who later wrote the book “Member of the Family,” described the charismatic cult leader as a "chameleon" who would "love bomb" his followers to gain their devotion.
"Looking back, I don't understand how I could have believed what I believed," she told the magazine. "But that's the thing about cults: you're brainwashed into accepting the leader's beliefs."
She was never asked to be part of the murders, and said she doesn't think she could have murdered anyone if she had been. Once the arrests were made, Lake lied to investigators about her identity until blurting out her name and age in court. Still a minor, she was forced to go to Patton State Hospital.
"It's embarrassing—or it used to be—for me to admit that I spent eight months in a mental hospital. But I realize now, years later, that I needed that time. I was safe, I was protected," she told ELLE.
She'd go on to get married in 1979 and said it took years for her to realize she'd been a victim of manipulation.
Lake said she felt a profound sense of relief when Manson finally passed away.
"I will never approve of what he did," she said.
[Photos: Getty, Associated Press]