Former Cielo Drive Caretaker, Sole Survivor Of The TLB Murders Died In August

January 03, 2017

Brian Davis - TLB Radio

TLB Radio has sadly learned William Garretson, the sole survivor of the Tate-LaBianca
murders, has passed away. He was 66.

According to Garretson's high school alumni page at, Garretson passed away
of cancer on August 16, 2016, one week and day before his birthday.

There was no obituary notice which would explain why none of us in the TLB community
likely knew of this until now.

For those who might not know, then 19-year old Garretson lived in the guesthouse at 10050 Cielo Drive in 1969 and was the property caretaker for house owner Rudy Altobelli.  One of the victims, 18-year old Steven Parent, had been visiting Garretson that night.

Garretson was arrested the next morning for the murders before being cleared and released the following day.

I was fortunate enough to talk with Bill on a few occasions in which a couple are posted on
the TLB Radio podcast page and each time Bill was nice, cordial and open about his
perspective of the murders.

In my opinion, Bill Garretson is one of the top 3 or 4 most intriguing characters in this story

and I don't think I'll ever truly understand how he was able to survive the carnage of
Cielo Drive that August 9th, 1969.

Eventually, it won't matter anymore. Maybe it already doesn't.

Rest In Peace, William Garretson


Anonymous said...

T/y for this. Agreed the guy was one of the more enigmatic characters in a tragic story full of them. Those YLB interviews you got were unusual to say the least but interesting nonetheless. One strange ranger for sure but he breathed in almost a half century's oxygen past that nightmare night and given how close he came to not I think he made out okay.

Anonymous said...

TLB not YLB. Excuse please.

TLB Radio said...

Thank you Anon. I appreciate the comment.

jamesrsfo said...

Does anyone else beside me think he possibly saw it all happen but was hiding in the darkened guest house so they wouldn't see/hurt him? Not brave, but you got admit pretty smart.

Mark Chmiel said...

Yes, James, I agree. I don't necessarily think he saw everything, but I think he may have seen Sebring and Abigail killed and he probably panicked or shut down when Krenwinkle tried the doorknob to his cottage. A 19 year old trapped in a cottage with an unknown number of killers outside and no phone, plus he was on some kind of drug or drugs? Yeah, I think he shut down and hid.

It's also possible he saw it, but was too drugged to process what was happening until the next morning.


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