Homicide police in Pittsburgh trace man in video

Investigators collect evidence in sisters’ deaths

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Pittsburgh homicide detectives are urgently working to identify and locate a second man spotted in video surveillance footage in connection with the fatal shootings earlier this month of two sisters in East Liberty.

Police obtained the video from a Sunoco gas station in the 500 block of North Highland Avenue, less than a mile from the home on Chislett Street where Susan and Sarah Wolfe were slain.

A different man whose image was captured in a separate video from a Port Authority bus taken by Susan Wolfe Feb. 6, the last night she was seen alive, spoke with police Tuesday. Police said he is not considered a suspect.

Several days after collecting the video footage from the gas station, detectives returned there late last week and took garbage bags from a trash container on the premises.

Police have not publicly commented on the man in the gas station video or the trash bags taken as evidence.

Three homicide detectives were back in East Liberty Tuesday near Whitfield Street -- the site where Sarah Wolfe's distinctive lime-green car was found Feb. 8 -- as they continued to look for leads in the double killing.

Investigators have not asked the public for help in identifying the man from the Sunoco station. Detectives had similarly withheld for about a week information about the man seen on the bus with Susan Wolfe.

Within a few days of the slayings, investigators had used Susan Wolfe's ConnectCard to zero in on a particular route she took and the time she was aboard a certain bus.

The Port Authority furnished Pittsburgh police with video that showed Susan Wolfe in contact with a man on the bus.

But it was not until Monday evening -- about a week after police obtained the video -- that investigators released two images of the man and asked the public for help in identifying him.

Police said the man, whose name they did not release, was a witness who could provide "essential information."

By Tuesday morning police knew his name.

"The man realized he was being sought as a witness and he called us," Lt. Daniel Herrmann said. "He was very cooperative during the interview and he then left. This occurred around 10 a.m. His name is not going to be released."

Police have been focusing on video evidence in their search for the killer. They have taken video from the East Liberty Carnegie library branch and a shoe store at Highland and Penn avenues.

Detectives have also made the rounds of other stores in the East Liberty business district in an effort to find additional video footage and information.

Sarah Wolfe, 38, was a psychiatrist at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. Susan Wolfe, 44, worked as a teacher's aide at Hillel Academy in Squirrel Hill.

Susan Wolfe left work about 5 p.m. the day before she and her sister were found dead. Susan Wolfe told a co-worker she had an appointment that night but did not provide further detail, and police have not discussed the meeting.

Investigators have released little information about the sisters' deaths. Susan, who had moved in with Sarah from her home in Iowa several months earlier, was found naked and face down in the basement. A chemical had been poured on her body. Sarah, still clothed, was found nearby. Both had been shot in the head.

Investigators have asked some people close to the sisters not to speak to the media. They include Sarah Wolfe's boyfriend, Matthew Buchholz, who police have said is not a suspect.

Mr. Buchholz, approached Monday at his Friendship home, declined comment, saying he had been asked by the Wolfe family and police to refrain from speaking.


Jonathan D. Silver: jsilver@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1962 or on Twitter @jsilverpg. Liz Navratil: lnavratil@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1438 or on Twitter @LizNavratil. First Published February 18, 2014 12:01 PM

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