The Short Life and Tragic Death of Steven Parent

Lori Johnston
8 min readAug 9, 2020
(photo source: Find a Grave)

Other than Sharon Tate’s unborn child, Steven Parent was the youngest victim of the Manson Family’s August 8–9, 1969 slaughter and undisputedly the least known. Up until his connection with the notorious crimes, he had a very ordinary, middle class upbringing.

Steven Earl Parent was born on February 12, 1951, the firstborn child of Wilfred and Juanita Parent. The Parent family moved to the Los Angeles suburb of El Monte — known as “Friendly El Monte” and “The End of the Santa Fe Trail” — roughly thirty miles from Beverly Hills but a world away around 1958. Their three bedroom, two bath rambler on East Bryant Street, built in 1956, was soon bursting as Steven was joined by a sister, Janet, and two brothers, Greg and Dale.

Steven attended high school at Arroyo High, beginning in 1965. It was in 1966, halfway through his freshman year, that he was arrested for petty theft. It’s generally accepted that he stole several radios — he was known to be a hi-fi bug and enthusiast and reportedly took those items apart to see how they operated. There is, however, a February 2, 1966 Los Angeles Times article that mentions a 14-year-old El Monte teen who was arrested for committing one to six burglaries at area schools. As the offender was a juvenile, no name was given. Whether the teen mentioned in the Times article was Steven or not, he spent the next two years in juvenile detention. While there, he was reportedly tested at near-genius level for electronics.

(photo source:

By the time he graduated from Arroyo in June of 1969, Steven stood just a whisper over six feet tall, with red hair that earned him the nickname “Carrot Top.” According to Vincent Bugliosi, the author of Helter Skelter and prosecutor of Steven’s killer(s), Steven had dated a few girls in school but no one in particular. He enjoyed listening to folk music and playing the guitar but his main passion continued to be electronics. Planning to attend Citrus Junior College in Azusa, to the north of El Monte, in September, he was holding down two jobs to save up money for his tuition. During the day he worked as a delivery boy for Valley Cities Plumbing Company on Rush Street in South El…

Lori Johnston

Writer, reader, margarita drinker. Currently looking for a “dare to be great” situation.