You asked, we answered. Crime Q&A is a series by the Sacto 9-1-1 team where reporters dig up answers to your questions on crime and criminals in the region.
Q: Whatever happened to the two teenage girls who knocked on doors and talked their way into an elderly woman’s home in Auburn before killing her around 30 years ago? Did they go on to live crime-free lives as adults or were they incarcerated again later on in life for other crimes?
MICHAEL, FAIR OAKS
A: Cindy Collier and Shirley Wolf were incarcerated in 1983 after stabbing 86-year-old Anna Brackett, who lived in Auburn. Due to juvenile sentencing laws at the time, Collier, 15, and Wolf, 14, were sentenced to be held in the California Youth Authority Facility until they were 27.
During her imprisonment, Wolf continued to have run-ins with the law — according to previous stories by the Bee, she crashed a fire truck into a fence at the Frontera state prison in an escape attempt, and attempted to assault two jailers at the Ventura County Jail.
According to Joan Merriam, the author of a book on the murder called “Little Girl Lost,” Collier obtained a junior college degree in law at the California Youth Authority Facility. She was paroled in 1992 . As of the last time Merriam had contact with her, Collier had four children and was living in Northern California.
After Wolf was released from prison, “she really managed to turn her life around,” Merriam said. Wolf is now living outside of California, has become involved in programs that help victims of child abuse, and is active in her church.
Collier and Wolf rose to infamy when they decided to run away from Auburn in 1983. The two girls both had fraught pasts — both girls were sexually and physically abused for years before they committed the murder. Wolf’s father began molesting her at age 2 — after pleading guilty to child molestation in 1982, he served a 100-day prison sentence. In 1983, Collier was staying at a group home in Auburn. Wolf had just run away from a group home in Placerville. Together, they knocked on doors in a condominium complex in an effort to steal someone’s car. They eventually knocked on Brackett’s door — she invited them in, and after an hour of small talk, Collier took one of Brackett’s kitchen knives and handed it to Wolf. Brackett was stabbed at least 27 times.
Afterward, Wolf wrote in her diary, “Today, Cindy and I ran away and killed an old lady. It was lots of fun.”
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