Man recalls finding body of Montreal woman near Manson killings
Published Thursday, April 28, 2016 11:48AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, April 28, 2016 12:06PM EDT
The man who stumbled on the body a Montreal woman in 1969 near the site of several of the Charles Manson killings says he hopes the woman’s family can have closure now that she has finally been identified.
Trevor Santochi was only 15 when he discovered a body while out hiking along the hills off Mulholland Drive in November, 1969. He told NBC4 in Los Angeles that he spotted something about 10 metres down a hillside that made him stop in his tracks.
“I knew exactly what it was at the time. I knew it was a dead body,” said Santochi, now 61.
Santochi couldn’t tell if the body was that of a man or a woman, but he says he could see the victim’s hair was cut short and the body was dressed in black.
“At that point, I stopped and just turned around and went home -- pretty much ran home -- and told my parents and we called the police,” he said.
This week, police revealed that body belonged to Reet Silvia Jurvetson, a 19-year-old from Montreal who had just moved to Los Angeles months before. She had been stabbed 157 times.
For years, police were unable to identify the body, so she was known only as Jane Doe 59.
But the fact that the body found just a few kilometres from the site of several Manson family murders has long fuelled speculation that her murder was connected to Manson.
Jurvetson’s body was found just months after the murders of Sharon Tate and three other people at her home, as well as the murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Those crimes were still unsolved when Santochi made his grisly discovery and he says there was a lot of fear in the city at the time.
“Everybody was pretty nervous at that time,” he said.
“Nobody knew at that time that it was Charles Manson, so people were spooked that people were going into houses and killing people and nobody knew why,” he said.
Santochi says he wasn’t traumatized after finding Jurvetson’s body, but “it’s something you never forget.”
Now that a DNA test has helped to identify Jurvetson, he says he hopes that Jurvetson’s family finally has some answers.
“My heart goes out to them and I’m glad that maybe they can get some closure now,” he said.
“I always wondered who she was. I had always assumed she was somebody local. But it’s a very sad thing.”