As news of infamous cult leader and serial killer Charles Manson’s death spreads, a woman who fears she could have become one of his victims reflected on her close brush with the Manson family.
“When I tell people the story, they say it’s impossible,” said Ava Roosevelt, who was once married to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s grandson, William.
“I don't know if I feel guilty because I didn't die,” she added.
Roosevelt had not lived in California long when she was invited to a party at the rented home of her close friend, Sharon Tate.
The up-and-coming model had recently moved to Los Angeles from her native Poland and set out to join in on the fun — but her car had other plans.
“Everything in this car was perpetually breaking down,” she said.
On Aug. 8, 1969, Roosevelt was driving her used 1955 Rolls Royce through Benedict Canyon to get to Tate’s home when she encountered car trouble.
Although she had recently filled the gas tank, the gas gauge showed it was empty. It was close to midnight, she recalled, and rather than risk being stranded, Roosevelt headed home.
“The car didn’t want me to go there,” she said.
Shortly after midnight on Aug. 9, Tate, who was more than eight months pregnant, and several friends were murdered by members of Charles Manson’s “family.”