While the country was still reeling from the news of a two-day murder spree across Los Angeles that left seven people dead, a then-16-year-old girl named Dianne Lake was learning first-hand details about the 1969 slayings that would change her life forever.
While Lake, aka Snake, was still very young, her parents embraced the hippie lifestyle and brought their young daughter with them to Wavy Gravy’s Hog Farm Commune in southern California. It was while living there that Lake met Charles Manson at a party in Topanga Canyon.
Manson took a liking to the 14-year-old auburn-haired beauty, and it was not long before she became a permanent fixture on the black magic bus. She joined the Manson Family with her parents permission.
The Family moved to Spahn Ranch and Lake lived the commune hippie lifestyle, rummaging through dumpsters for food and taking care of the horses on the ranch. Lake was closest with Lynette Fromme, Susan Atkins would often give her a hard time. This changed when Lake was tasked with delivering Atkins’s baby. When the baby boy was born, Manson asked Lake to cut the umbilical cord with her teeth.
In October of 1969, Lake was arrested with the Family in the Barker Ranch raid. In December, after two months in jail, Lake broke her silence, and she provided the District Attorney with loads of incriminating evidence against Manson and the Family.
A year later, at age 17 and after being institutionalized, Lake found herself in front of Manson, this time in an L.A. courtroom, testifying against him.
Once the trial was over, and first-degree murder convictions were returned against Manson, Lake tried to move forward with her life, marrying, raising three children and earning a master’s degree in education.