Steven Parent: El Monte teen, Manson family victim


Friday morning August 8, 1969.

The sun is fully visible at 6:10 a.m.

At 7:50 a.m. Steven Earl Parent, 18, leaves his parents’ El Monte home on Bryant Road for work at Valley City Plumbing in Rosemead.

A recent graduate of Arroyo High School, Parent works two jobs. He plans on attending Citrus College in the fall semester.

Parent’s co-workers say he is “clean-cut” and “intelligent.” “A good worker.”

He splits work at 5:15 p.m. and heads to the second job, at Jonas Miller Stereo on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills.

At 7:48 p.m. sunset envelopes Southern California.

Sometime after 11 p.m., Parent gets off work. He’s driving his dad’s 1966 AMC Rambler.

Parent heads up Beverly to Sunset, then jogs north again on Benedict Canyon Road.

A waning crescent moon barely lights the night sky. Oleanders and scrub oak line the unlit road. He turns again on Cielo Drive.

At 11:45 p.m., Parent demonstrates an AM/FM Sony Digimatic clock radio. He hopes to sell it to Bill Garretson, his 19-year-old friend.

The two met several weeks earlier, when Parent picked up Garretson hitchhiking and drove him home.

Garretson lives in the back house at the estate on Cielo Drive. He takes care of the owner’s dogs.

Garretson declines to buy the radio. Parent drinks a can of beer. He calls a friend.

It’s now Saturday morning August 9 – 12:15 a.m. Parent leaves.

In the dark, he walks back to his dad’s white Rambler. He starts his car and heads toward the gate.

He rolls down the window to use a push button gate opener.

A figure approaches.

“Halt,” a man calls out. The man’s got a buck knife in one hand and a .22 in the other.

Parent pleads with the man, “Please don’t hurt me. I won’t tell anyone.”

The man slashes at Parent with the knife, slicing the teen’s wrist. Then, he opens fire with the revolver. Shots strike the El Monte teen in the head and chest. By 12:30 a.m. Parent is dead.

He would become the first victim in a two-night killing frenzy led by Charles Manson and carried out by members of his LSD-crazed “family.”

Within minutes, Parent’s murderer, Charles “Tex” Watson, and three women would enter the main house at Cielo Drive and kill actress Sharon Tate, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, film producer Wojciech Frykowski and hair dresser Jay Sebring.

In hopes of inciting a race war that Manson called “Helter Skelter,” the killers struck the next night at the Los Feliz home of and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

Parent’s body was discovered about 24 hours after he left his parent’s El Monte home for work. His mom and dad were disturbed that LAPD officials didn’t notify them of their son’s death for several hours.

His dad wondered what Steven was up to.

“I just can’t understand what he was doing up there in the first place,” Wilfred Parent said. “Hell, Steve wasn’t a poshy kind of kid. I didn’t even know he knew any of those people.”

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  • Gabri

    I did research on this Charles Manson Case because of the fact i live in Chatsworth,Ca.It still shocks me that Charles Manson himself is alive after all this time. Sad Story that tortured many drugged innocent people with barely any evidence. I just visited where the Manson Caves are by the traintracks and it amazes me. crime scene investigator is my dream

  • Gabri

    I did research on this Charles Manson Case because of the fact i live in Chatsworth,Ca.It still shocks me that Charles Manson himself is alive after all this time. Sad Story that tortured many drugged innocent people with barely any evidence. I just visited where the Manson Caves are by the traintracks and it amazes me. crime scene investigations

  • AJ Parent

    Steve Earl Parent was my Uncle and i never got to meet him. My dad told me the story a couple of years ago and to this day i still can’t believe they killed my Uncle. I really wish I could have met him too

  • Anonymous

    el monte

  • Anonymous

    We lived two doors away from the Parents on Cypress Dr, which used to be Central Ave in the the 50’s and early sixties from 1954 to 1963. I knew Steven who was three years younger than me but we never played together. I delivered the paper to his house.

    When returning from a vacation in Arkansas by car, we noticed our garage had been broken into and a clock radio from my Dad’s workbench was missing. I knew Steven was into tearing apart radios and rebuilding them because I did the same thing…except I didn’t go looking for them in other people’s houses.

    We confronted Steven and his father who went into his room and retrieved our radio, in pieces. He was apologetic and assured us it would be fully reassembled and returned to us. I can’t recall if my Dad called the El Monte police or not, but I do recall Steven coming over to the house and bringing back the radio and giving to my Mom. It worked!! I always thought that whole episode was bizarre and we moved away shortly after that. It was while I was in college I heard about the killings and was shocked to see Steven’s name among the victims. I felt really bad since even though he stole from us, I felt he was a good kid.

  • Randall

    My stepdad worked with Steve Parent. I read somewhere there is a cia connection with these murders.

  • troy green

    This is so sad when it happened. Still sad today. To AJ Parent is your grandparents still alive?

  • Mark Mccardell

    well he didn’t know them, he knew the temporary care taker/dog sitter on the property and only briefly giving him a ride weeks earlier. It was simply really really wrong place wrong time………………coulda shoulda woulda, but if he had skipped the beer, he might have gotten away in the nick of time.

  • Wayne Mathews

    If the gate was open hed been ok

    • Jess Patrick Dicus

      I certainly would hope so! Such a sad situation. This young man had his entire life ahead of him! Just makes me so sad!

  • Irma G.

    I wonder who the writer and editor are? So many articles here with endless misspelled words and sentences that make absolutely no sense. Please hire some new editors and a spell checker too.

    • Kimberly DeFusco

      I was just thinking the very same thing!

    • Janice Pavlisko Robinson

      I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t see any misspelled words or any sentences that don’t make sense.

  • David Gee

    Amazing, some little trivial thing happens and it leads to something like what happened to Parent. If he leaves a minute sooner maybe he’s still alive today. Life can be such a sick joke sometimes.

  • Davey Whitebread

    I always wonder if he had a homosexual relationship with Garretson…

    • TruthSeeker

      I kind of doubt that, because Bill Vega is not gay, and probably would not have been friends with Steve, if he thought Steve was gay. Bill lived in El Monte at that time, and still lived in El Monte when I met him many years ago, but then moved to another city, which I won’t mention here. He was living with his sickly parents, and saving money to buy a house. When his mother died of cancer, Bill moved out, and then his father died from whatever. I believe Bill went to school with Steve, but I am not positive.

  • Keli

    Such a tragedy, no matter how you look at it. I cannot comprehend how these families have dealt with, and persevered through all of this. Sobering to realize that in a split second, your life, and those of your families and friends can be irrevocably changed forever, and you find yourself on a path that you never would have chosen.

  • The Blackrose

    “members of his LSD-crazed ‘family.'” No one doing the murders was on LSD. Everyone was straight. Where did LSD-crazed “family.” come from?