Manson’s first born, Charles Manson Jr. did everything in his power to escape the legacy his father left.  He changed his own name, and tried to distance himself whenever possible, but ultimately, he ended up taking his own life.

Charles Manson, who died last year at the ripe age of 83, was infamous for his cult following, seven murders and never touching his victims. Yet, his legacy lives on through stories, his estate, and his kids.  While it’s unknown how many kids Manson had, we know of at least three…

Perhaps there was no chance for Charles Manson Jr. to ever live a truly normal life with his heritage.  He was born in 1956, just a short year after Charles Manson married 15 year old Rosalie Jean Willis.

In her second trimester of pregnancy the “happy” couple moved to Los Angeles California to better their lives. However, soon after arriving in California Manson was arrested and granted five years of probation for driving a stolen car, (the very one driven to California to take the couple to happiness) across state lines.

Driven by schizophrenia and paranoid delusional disorders, Manson got into further trouble with the law resulting in subsequent stints in prison.  This trouble with the law also resulted in the divorce of Manson and Willis, who was left not only to care for a child as a single mother, but also to manage the end of her pregnancy by herself.

Ironically, later in life Charles Manson reportedly said that the short time married to Willis was “a delight”.

After divorcing Willis, Manson went on to amass his cult following which he referred to as the “Manson Family”.  These devote followers would go on to commit his most infamous murders in 1969.

While many reports try to over dramatize the life of Charles Manson Jr., the reality is that we don’t know much of his history and background.  He apparently was not a fan of his familial relations to his biological father as he eventually changed his name to Jay White.

Since his stepfather’s name was Jack White and his two step brothers were Jesse and Jed White, changing his name to Jay White would have perhaps created a deeper sense of belonging for him.

Jesse was born just two years after Charles Manson Jr, in 1958 and Jed was born in 1959.  Being close in age, it’s plausible the three brother were close to one another. 

Which would make the fact that both of Charles Manson Jr’s. brothers died tragically before he did, a difficult reality for him.  

Jed, the youngest of the brothers, died first from a tragic, but accidental, gunshot wound when he was only 11 years old. Jesse also passed away at the young age of 28.  He was discovered in a car after a night of partying with friends. His cause of death was ruled as a drug overdose.

Jay White followed suit and died seven short years later.

The Death Of Jay White

Jay White’s death in many ways was the most tragic because unlike his brothers, his death was not accidental.  Jay committed suicide on June 29, 1993. His body was found at Exit 438 on Interstate 70 and his cause of death is listed on his death certificate as a “self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head”.

Why Jay killed himself is not completely known.  Many news outlets reported that he couldn’t handle the connection to his father Charles Manson and there is evidence to support this.

Jay’s son Jason Freeman has better processed the trauma, but has described the relationship to Charles Manson as a “family curse”. Instead of allowing his family history to be used against him, Jason has used the “curse” as motivation.  In 2012, he even announced that he was “coming out” [as a Manson] in an effort to rid himself of the toxicity of his past.

While Freeman might look and sound tough as a 6’2” kickboxer, he describes his childhood differently. Jason claimed he was bullied as a child because he was the grandchild of Charles Manson, and that he couldn’t discuss Manson at all.  His grandmother Rosalie Willis even forbid the mention of her former husband at home. This glimpse into the toxicity of Manson within the family unit is perhaps the most solid indicator that Charles Manson played a large role in the suicide of Charles Manson Jr. Freeman also furthered this assumption by saying that his father “just couldn’t let it go.  He couldn’t live it down. He couldn’t live down who his father was”.

As part of the effort to rid himself of toxicity, Freeman attempted to reconnect with Charles Manson. He even said that in moments Manson would say “I love you”. After the death of Charles Manson, Freeman battled for the rights for his grandfather’s body and his estate. He won rights to the body and had his grandfather’s remains cremated and scattered. He is still fighting for rights to the estate-which consists of Manson’s music, art and writings.  If he wins he hopes to auction the items off and give the money to charity.