When cult leader murder mastermind Charles Manson died in prison Nov. 19, at the age of 83, he left behind not just a violent history but a family, as well. Manson was married twice — to Rosalie Willis from 1955 to 1958 and to Leona Stevens from 1959 to 1963 — and fathered at least three children, of whom two are still alive.
Charles Manson Jr., born to Willis in 1955, apparently couldn’t shake his father’s legacy, even after he changed his name to Jay White. He died of suicide in 1993 with a “self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head,” according to the police report. "He couldn’t live down who his father was,” White’s son, Jason Freeman, told CNN in 2012. “He just couldn't let it go.”
Manson had his next child, Charles Luther Manson, with Stevens just before they divorced. As Newsweek notes, this son’s whereabouts are unknown, and it’s possible he too is living under another name.
Manson’s third known child is Valentine Michael Brunner, born in 1968 to Mary Brunner, a girlfriend of Manson’s and one of his many acolytes. He was raised by his grandparents, and he was going by the name Michael Brunner by the time KCBS interviewed him in 1993. “There’s no reason to treat me any different than the next guy, just because of my biological father,” he said. “He’s just somebody far, far away.”
Of course, these wives and sons aren’t the Manson Family everyone remembers, though they all have to live with the legacy of those non-relatives.
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