Cult leader Charles Manson lived in Indianapolis at age 14

INDIANAPOLIS -- Before Charles Manson was a convicted mass murderer, the leader of a cult and one of the most infamous names in the history of American crime, he was a 14-year-old kid living in Indianapolis.

Manson, 83, was taken to a Bakersfield, California hospital Wednesday. He died late Sunday evening. 

Born in Cincinnati, Manson was sent to a boy's school in Terre Haute, Indiana after he was caught stealing, but how and why he left is still unclear. The Indianapolis News reported that his mother quit paying for his care, but other reports show that he escaped after a few days.

READ | Murderous cult leader Charles Manson dead at 83

In a hearing at Juvenile Court on March 7, 1949, the 14-year-old Manson discussed his life with  Judge Joseph O. Hoffman. The hearing resulted in Manson being sent to "Boys Town," a refuge center near Omaha, Nebraska.

"I think I could be happy working around cows and horses," Manson said of Boys Town. "I like animals."

Judge Hoffman seemed optimistic about Manson's future at Boys Town. "Maybe you'll have that farm yet and be a real farmer, son." Hoffman said, patting Manson on the shoulder. "You just try hard to learn the things they teach."

Manson was at Boys Town for three days. He didn't even make it out of orientation. 

A 1949 Indianapolis News article was sympathetic to Manson's difficult childhood, with no inkling of the crimes he would commit in the late 1960s. 

Manson's mother, Kathleen Maddox, would tell him to "get out of the house" while she entertained a "boy friend (sic)," The Indianapolis News reported. He hated living with his mother so much, he got a job and rented a room for himself downtown. 

CNN reports that during his childhood, Manson's mom sold him for a pitcher of beer to a woman who wanted to have children. Manson's uncle had to find the woman so that he could get his nephew back.

Police began looking for the teen when they learned he was involved in a theft in Indy. Manson's mother told police where they could find him, "wanting to get him out of the way." Maddox was arrested by police as well on a charge of adultery. When she was released, she left Indianapolis, and her son.

Manson told the court there were only three people he cared for -- his uncle, a priest at the Terre Haute boy's home, and another priest who visited him.

Ultimately, Manson's story came to a head in the late 1960s when he attracted a group of followers and moved to California. Manson's "family" killed nine people over a three-year period. In 1971, Manson was found guilty of murder and conspiracy in connection with the murders.

MORE HOOSIER HISTORY | 'Do something, and then worry about it.' Resurrecting the Rivoli Theatre | How and when payphones disappeared in Indianapolis | 16 years ago: Market Square Arena imploded to cheers | Remembering the 28th: Indiana's only African-American Civil War regiment | Message in a bottle found in Indianapolis 85 years later leads to life discoveries

Top Trending Videos

Print this article Back to Top