This takes place in October 1977. When my mom was 16, she ran away from her abusive home along with her friend Lisa. They hitchhiked from Mass all the way to California.
Obviously, this wasn’t the brightest of plans. But given my mom’s tumultuous home life and past experiences, she didn’t see how it could be much more dangerous than anything she’d already experienced.
They had a pretty safe and uneventful trip across the country. Finding friends in many truck drivers and other travelers. It wasn’t until they’d reached California when this encounter happens.
The Hillside Strangler, at first thought to be one assailant, ended up being two men who were caught and brought to justice for 10 murders.
So, my mom and Lisa end up meeting these 2 guys who were super nice to them. They crashed at their place for a few days. Partying. But nothing bad had come of it at this point.
These guys tell the girls that they’re going to take them to the Hollywood hills and Sunset Blvd to see the sights. Not being from the area, my mom had no idea that these areas were more crime ridden at that time. Especially considering they were supposed to be “sight seeing”. My mom really wanted to see where all the movie stars lived.
These guys take my mom and her friend to some divey restaurant/bar and get them super drunk. It’s also the first time my mom is introduced to and tries cocaine.
After these underage girls are now completely high/drunk, they split off in to pairs and my mom’s friend disappears with one of these guys. My mom is now hanging out with just one of her new guy friends. He then suggests that they stand on the sidewalk on Sunset boulevard (in the middle of the night) and if/when a car pulls up, she should get in and direct the driver to drive across the street to this dark parking lot. It isn’t really until the first (and only) car pulls up and she gets in that she’s realized this guy is prostituting her out. Keep in mind, these guys had been nothing but kind and respectful to my young mom and friend for the past few days. Also, and very sadly, this type of abuse is not a new concept for her either.
She gets into this car and instead of pulling into the parking lot, he keeps driving straight. My mom explains that he’s gone the wrong way. So he starts driving faster. My mom moves toward the door but he locks it, hits her, and attempts to hold her down all at the same time. He tells her she isn’t going anywhere. My mom knew in her head she NEEDED to get out of that car or she’d be dead. So in one swift move, she unlocks the door, tucks and rolls out of the car.
His car comes screeching to a halt. She sees some bushes in front of a house, so she runs to hide behind them. He’s turned around looking for her, creeping along. His passengers side was facing where she was hiding and she was peeking through the bushes. She saw he had a gun.
As soon as his car crept by, she ran to the back yard. It was all fenced in! There was no other way out so she had to go back the way she came. By the time she crawled back into the bushes to see if he was still around, she saw his car had gone to the end of the road and turn back around. So he passes again and when she thought he was far enough away, she crawled out of the bushes to run. But then she sees his brake lights. Confident that he’s now seen her, she runs as fast as possible around a corner. But she could hear his car so she had to duck and hide behind parked cars on the road. As soon as he passes again she booked it across the street which took her through the parking lot she was originally suppose to park in, and back to her “friend”.
The creep did circle back again but by then she was with her friend and they were leaving the area.
My mom and her friend quickly ditched these two assholes and did find a safer place to stay. But only a short time later did my mom call home and eventually made it home safely. It wasn’t until a long time later that she saw on the news a story about women being murdered and recognized the murderer, dubbed the Hillside Strangler, as the man who had picked her up that night.
A side note – my mom literally just dictated this story to me. I’ve heard it before but not in so much detail. I told her about this sub and she said I should share her story. Not purpusfully, but I googled an image of the Hillside Strangler and showed her, unexpectedly, my phone and she jumped so high! It actually really unnerved her recognizing him again. I feel bad about that.
Edit- it was Kenneth Bianchi who drove the car this night. My mom said there is no questioning it was his distinguishing features and definetly his mustache.
Edit 2: I’ve been reading these comments to my mom. Retelling her story to me so I could accurately account for it has stirred some anxiety and feelings in her she didn’t realize were there. So she just wants to say a genuine thank you for all of the well wishes and positive comments. I hope she finds comfort in them knowing that, although it was because of poor choices (hitchhiking and drinking with strangers) her actions show how truly brave and strong she was/is. Honestly, I’m so grateful for her. She is the most amazing woman I’ve ever known.