On Monday's episode of People Magazine Investigates: Cults, the ex-Manson family member recounts hearing stories about Sharon Tate's grisly murder

By Steve Helling
June 07, 2019 11:09 AM

A former member of the murderous Manson family is speaking out — and recalling how other members told her about the grisly killings of pregnant actress Sharon Tate.

Dianne Lake met Charles Manson in 1967 when she was just 14. She was a loyal follower for the next two years, but ultimately ended up testifying against him in court at age 17.

Lake speaks out on the next episode of People Magazine Investigates: Cults, which airs on Investigation Discovery on Monday, June 3, at 9 p.m. ET.

In a candid interview, she explains that she was in hiding at a ranch in Death Valley when the Sharon Tate murders happened — and that she believed she was there to escape an impending race war.

When Manson family member Tex Watson showed up at the ranch, he was carrying a news article about Tate’s murder. “He shows me the newspaper and he slaps it, and he says ‘I did this. Charlie told me to.'” Lake recalls.

Soon after, Lake listened in horror as several of Lake’s Manson sisters arrived at the ranch and told her what they had done. “The girls told me their participation in the murders,” she says.

Emily Berl

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Lake, now 66, didn’t speak out about the Manson case for 47 years.

She first broke her silence with PEOPLE in 2017, saying that her experience was a “cautionary tale” and saying that Manson had groomed her from the beginning.

“I needed love and affection, and I needed a family. I needed to feel like I belonged somewhere,” she told PEOPLE. “And he perceived that from the get-go.”

Courtesy Dianne Lake; Bettmann/Getty

After the Manson murders, she was institutionalized. She began to realize how Manson had preyed on her naiveté. After she gained clarity, she testified against him in his murder trial. “He just looked crazy, but I was able to look at him,” Lake told PEOPLE. “I had been pretty deprogrammed at this point, so I felt pretty safe.”

Once the trial was over and first-degree murder convictions were returned against Manson, she tried to move forward with her life — marrying, raising three children and earning a master’s degree in education.

People Magazine Investigates: Cults airs on Investigation Discovery on Monday, June 3, at 9 p.m ET.