May 8, 2009

Manson's Last Hideout Goes Up In Flames!

From Valley National Park -- Barker Ranch, an abandoned desert cabin that was Charles Manson's last hideout after his notorious cult killings, was gutted by fire, a park spokesman said Thursday.

The isolated cabin was discovered burned Tuesday, Terry Baldino said.

"We don't know the cause. We don't know if it was an accident or on purpose," he said.

The cabin was last seen intact last Friday and may have burned over the weekend, he said.

The ranch, which included a main building and a guesthouse, was built of wood, stone and cement. The fire burned most of the wood and damaged the tin roof. Stone walls were standing but must be inspected to determine whether they are safe, Baldino said.

"Basically, it's a gutted building," he said.

The ranch was built in the 1930s by a retired Los Angeles police officer-turned-gold miner, Baldino said. It is located in a rocky canyon in the Panamint Range and can be reached only by a three- to four-hour drive up rugged roads.

Manson and his followers hid at the cabin after killing actress Sharon Tate and seven others in the summer of 1969. He was arrested there that fall and is serving a life sentence

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