Charles Manson, the murderous cult leader who died Sunday at the age of 83, was once a troubled teen working as a messenger boy and living in an Indiana hotel.
His Midwestern roots were reported by the Indianapolis Star Tuesday. The paper writes that Manson was born in Cincinnati to a 16-year-old girl who ran away from her West Virginia home. Manson’s mother was imprisoned after robbing a gas station, the paper reports, when he was just 5 years old.
Manson began committing crimes before he turned 10, and by 13 he was sent to the Gibault School for Boys in Terre Haute.
His mother, who the Star writes would send him away while she “entertained her boyfriends” in the hotel room they shared, was arrested for adultery but then "skipped town" after being released on her own recognizance. Manson never saw her again, according to the newspaper.
Rev. George Powers, a local priest, offered assistance to the troubled 14-year-old who would grow to be one of America's most notorious prisoners, the paper says. Powers called him a “very genuine lost little kid” at the time.
It was Powers who pulled some strings and got the teenaged Manson sent to Boys Town in Nebraska, a reform school known for straighting out troubled kids.
A photo of Powers and Manson shaking hands was published in a March 7, 1949, edition of the Indianapolis News with the headline “Dream Comes True for Lad; He’s Going to Boys Town.”
"Charles told the court that there were only three persons in his life for whom he did care--an uncle with whom he lived for a time in Wheeling, W. Va., a priest at the Gibault Home For Boys, Terre Haute, and another priest who visited him at Juvenile Center," the paper reported at the time.
Manson told the judge in his case he would be happy “working around cows and horses” at Boys Town, but he was on the lam only days after he arrived.
After returning to Indianapolis and running afoul of the law again, Manson was sent to the Indiana Boys School in Plainfield, the Star reports, where he broke out at least twice.
Manson was arrested in 1956 when he was 21 for a parole violation—the last record of his being in Indianapolis, according to the Star.
He died of natural causes at a Kern County, California hospital, according to the California Department of Corrections.
Manson was recently taken to Bakersfield Hospital where he was being treated for intestinal bleeding since January. Surgery was recommended but it was later deemed too risky, the Associated Press reported.