By Dan Whitcomb
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A woman found stabbed to death in 1969 and considered a possible victim of followers of Charles Manson has been identified after nearly 50 years, prompting detectives to question the imprisoned mass murderer about her death, Los Angeles police said on Wednesday.
The woman, previously known only as Jane Doe #59, was identified through DNA testing as 19-year-old Reet Jurvetson, who lost contact with her family after traveling to California from Canada in 1969, the Los Angeles Police Department said.
"Finally, after all these years, we are faced with hard facts. My little sister was savagely killed. It was not what I wanted to hear," the slain woman's sister, Anne Jurvetson, said in a statement posted on a memorial website.
Anne Jurvetson wrote that her parents never reported her sister missing, not realizing she had been the victim of a crime.
The body of Jurvetson, who was born in Sweden and grew up in Montreal, was found in the Hollywood Hills brush. She had been stabbed 150 times in the upper body.
An initial breakthrough in the case came when a family friend looking through a database of missing and deceased victims recognized her.
"Due to the location and the time period where Reet Jurvetson was found, and the violent manner of her death, investigators wanted to rule out any possible connection to the notorious 'Manson Murders' that occurred during the summer of 1969," the LAPD said.
Investigators questioned Manson, now 81, in prison about Jurvetson's death but learned nothing useful "and the investigation remains open and ongoing," the police department said.
The LAPD asked the public to help in identifying a friend of Jurvetson known as John, or Jean.
In the summer of 1969 Manson directed his mostly young, female followers to murder seven people. Among the victims was actress Sharon Tate, the pregnant wife of filmmaker Roman Polanski, who was stabbed 16 times by members of the cult in the early morning hours of Aug. 9, 1969.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Toni Reinhold and Tom Brown)