Sunday 25 September 2016

Identification of woman found near Manson murders site stirs mystery

Published 28/04/2016 | 06:41

Police recently interviewed Charles Manson about the Jurvetson killing but uncovered no new information
Police recently interviewed Charles Manson about the Jurvetson killing but uncovered no new information

The identification of a woman found stabbed to death in Los Angeles in 1969 has resurrected speculation her murder is connected to the Manson family killings.

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Los Angeles police have identified the woman as 19-year-old Reet Jurvetson of Montreal, Canada.

Ms Jurvetson's body was found on November 16 1969 off Mulholland Drive, about six miles from the site of the Manson family killings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate, the wife of film director Roman Polanski, and four others.

Ms Jurvetson had been stabbed 150 times in the upper torso and neck, was not carrying identification and eventually became known as Jane Doe number 59.

Police made the identification using DNA after Ms Jurvetson's sister recognised a photo of the woman's body posted online.

"After all these years, we are faced with hard facts," Anne Jurvetson said. "My little sister was savagely killed. I am horrified to think of how terribly frightened and alone she must have felt as she died."

The 73-year-old described the "sad, helpless kind of feeling" of not learning what had become of her sister until 46 years after her death.

She said: "To always question, to never know, to imagine scenarios, all the while still hoping and dreaming that one day there would be an answer."

Tate was killed in her home, along with four others, on August 9 1969, three months before Ms Jurvetson's killing.

Los Angeles police Detective Luis Rivera said investigators interviewed Charles Manson, 81, a few months ago about the Jurvetson killing but uncovered no new information.

Though detectives have not found any concrete link between Ms Jurvetson and the Manson family killings, they have not ruled it out, Mr Rivera said.

He pointed out that Ms Jurvetson was stabbed like most other Manson victims, and that her body was found near the site of some of the Tate killings in the same three-month period.

"We don't rule anything out," Mr Rivera said. "Everything is on the table until proven otherwise."

Mr Rivera said detectives are trying to track down their best lead, a man known as either "John", or the name's French pronunciation, "Jean". Ms Jurvetson met the man in Toronto before flying to Los Angeles to see him the summer of 1969, he said.

Police hope renewed media attention will generate tips leading to the man and other witnesses.

Anne Jurvetson said her free-spirited and naive sister went to Los Angeles after becoming smitten with "John".

She said her sister sent her family a postcard saying she had found an apartment and was happy, but they never heard from her again. Her parents never reported her missing because "they thought that she was just living her life somewhere," Anne Jurvetson said.

Piret Koppel, a Montreal psychotherapist, said she and Reet Jurvetson were friends, growing up in the same small, close-knit Estonian community in Montreal.

She described Ms Jurvetson as intelligent and vivacious, and said she was distraught to finally learn how her friend had died. "I have shivers on my body when I think about what happened to her," she said.

Press Association

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