The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

February 9, 2014

BREAKING NEWS: Wolfe sisters died of gunshots to the head

By Brenden West
Assistant Editor

EAST LIBERTY, Penn. —

An officer from the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's office confirmed today that the two sisters of state Rep. Mary Wolfe were victims of homicide, with both sustaining gunshot wounds to the head.

"Both Sarah and Susan (Wolfe) the cause of death (was a) gunshot wound to the head," said the officer, confirming the time of their deaths at 1:48 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday. He confirmed their manner of death was a homicide.

The Medical Examiner's office conducted autopsies on the two women Saturday.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Saturday that Dr. Karl Williams, Allegheny County Medical Examiner, was still waiting on more results of the autopsy to determine an exact time of death.

"They're complex cases," Williams told the Gazette. "... Things change, bruising patterns change, different things if you wait a little while.

"We do it fairly routinely if we think we may be able to see other patterns of injury develop after a period of time," Williams said.

The Gazette broke news late Friday that the sisters of Mary Wolfe – Susan Wolfe, 44, and Sarah Wolfe, 38 – were pronounced dead at 1:48 p.m. from apparent gunshot wounds in their basement on Chislett Street in East Liberty. 

Mary Wolfe, of Clinton, their sister, represents District 98 in the Legislature, which covers Clinton, Andover, Goose Lake and Charlotte.

“Right this minute, we’re still trying to figure out what happened,” Mary Wolfe told the Gazette on Friday. “They were both incredible people, and we would like their friends and colleagues to know a little bit more about them and how much we appreciate their thoughts and wishes.”

At around 9:30 p.m., Saturday, Wolfe posted on Facebook to thank those who have reached out to her and her family in light of the tragic news.

"Thank you to my friends and neighbors and colleagues and to Suzy's and Sarah's friends and neighbors and colleagues for all of the lovely thoughts and prayers and food and support that my family has received over the past 24 hours - we are so grateful," the post said. "Heartbroken, but grateful."

Earlier Friday, Wolfe attended a town hall meeting with Sens. Rita Hart, Steve Dotzler, Steve Sodders and Rep. Steve Olson. Hart said Wolfe learned the tragic news shortly after the meeting, and called her around 4:30 p.m.

“Everyone is extremely empathetic to the Wolfe family, and it's just a horrible tragedy,” Hart said on Saturday, calling Wolfe a close friend. “We'll do everything we can to support her.”

Pittsburgh Police Lt. Daniel Hermann said Friday that authorities are conducting an active investigation, according to the Gazette. On early Saturday morning, police found a car connected with the crime. The car is believed to belong to one of the sisters.

Susan and Sarah Wolfe recently moved to the Pennsylvania home, Olson said. Susan worked as a teacher’s aide and Sarah was a pediatrician and psychiatrist.

The Gazette reported police found the bodies after a friend let authorities into the sisters’ home. A concerned co-worker of Susan Wolfe summoned police to check on her well-being.

Olson said he found out shortly after Hart and spent the past two days notifying fellow legislators of the news.

“This is more drastic than anything we’ve had in the past,” he said Saturday.

Olson added state leaders have reached out to the Wolfe family offering their condolences.

Hart said word has spread quickly within the Legislature.