December, 1968. Marina Habe, 17, was back home in Los Angeles for the holidays. She had spent Christmas with her mother Eloise and on the night of December 29th was now spending the night of December 29th with friends. Around 3:15 Marina left to drive to her mother’s West Hollywood home.
Marina Elizabeth Habe was born in 1951 to Hans Habe and Eloise Hardt. Her father, a Jewish-Hungarian writer, had fled Europe due to World War II. Hans and Eloise, an Hollywood actress, were married in 1948. They quickly realized the marriage was not a succes and divorced. Soon after that, Hans moved to Switzerland, leaving Marina in the care of her mother Eloise.
After graduating from high school Marina attended the University of Hawaii to work on an arts degree. Her dream was to become an actress like her mother.
That night of December 29th in 1968, Eloise was awoken by sounds from a car engine. Marina’s car was parked in her drive way, but an unknown black car was right next to it. It looked like there were multiple people in the car. Eloise saw a young man in his 20’s running towards the unknown car yelling ‘Let’s GO!’. The vehicle sped away, leaving behind a confused Eloise. There was no sign of Marina.
Eloise called the police immediately. Marina’s father Hans Habe, a writer living in Switzerland at the time with his 6th wife, traveled to Los Angeles as quickly as he could. The police started an investigation, working with the assumption that Marina had been kidnapped from her mothers driveway. They examined Marina’s car and found that the hand brake had been pulled with a great deal of force, which led them to believe that someone else had been in her car. An extensive ground search and search by helicopter was started, but there was no sign of Marina. Eloise and Hans hoped there would be a request for ransom, but the kidnappers never contacted them.
On January 1st, a couple walking down the famous Mulholland Drive noticed a purse lying in the bushes. Inside were Marina’s credit cards and some cash. The police concluded the motive for the kidnapping was not money or robbery, as the cash was still in Marina’s purse. Later that day, a man walking his dog around the same area found Marina’s body off the road. She had been placed in a ravine covered with foliage.
Marina’s body was fully clothed, but she was missing one shoe. It was found nearby. An old motorcycle frame was also found near her body. An autopsy found multiple knife wounds, one of which to her throat. Two different knives were used in the attack. The autopsy also showed bruising to her face and neck, but no defense wounds to the rest of her body. There was no evidence of sexual assault at the autopsy, the coroner’s report stated that she probably had consensual sex recently (most likely with one of the friends she spent her evening with). The coroner concluded that Marina had bled to death. The timing of her death is unknown, conflicting reports exist wether she was killed right after her kidnapping or that she was kept alive.
Marina was buried at Holy Cross cemetery in Los Angeles. The priest leading her funeral said: ‘We wonder about a society, the products of which can be… capable of such heinous crimes. There you have the perfect formula for bitterness, resentment, hatred, perhaps despair. This we must guard against. ‘
The autopsy report led police to conclude that at least two people were involved in Marina’s murder. It was never determined if the motorcycle frame that was found near Marina’s body was related to her murder. There were some motorcycle gangs in California at the time, but there was no evidence that they had any involvement in Marina’s murder.
Involvement of the Manson Family?
A theory often connected to her murder is that the Manson Family was to blame. A former member of the Family has claimed that they knew Marina. There is no evidence however of any connection between Marina and the Manson Family. Charles Manson was at a New Years Eve party thrown by members of the band the Mamas and the Papas, so has a solid alibi for the evening of Marina’s kidnapping.
The Manson Family did run an illegal car and motorcycle shop where they sold stolen parts. Could this be a, albeit very small, connection to the motorcycle frame found in the ravine next to Marina’s body? When Mark Glen Wats, a supplier of stolen parts to the Manson Family, was murdered, his body was also dumped in a ravine next to Mulholland Drive, just like Marina. Coincidence or not?
In November 1969, 19 year old Reet Jurvetson was found murdered in a ravine of Mulholland Drive. She had also been stabbed and bled to death. Could she have been murdered by the same murderer as Marina? Or were they found in similar circumstances that were not related? Want to know more about Reet Jurvetson’s story? Her murder was covered on our instagram page, click here to read it.
The murder of Marina Habe was never solved. No suspects have ever been openly named by police. Eloise Hardt died in 2017 at the age of 99 without knowing who killed her daughter. Before she died she said this about her daughters death to CBC’s the fifth estate; ‘The more I dwell on it, the sicker I get. So I stay as far away from it as I can. But I sure as hell would like to know what happened to my daughter. I’m only staying alive so I can get some answers.’