The Supreme’s Cindy Birdsong Kidnapped At Knife Point; Dramatic Escape
Cindy Birdsong, who served as Florence Ballard’s replacement as singer of The Supremes, was kidnapped from her Hollywood apartment and abducted today (December 2, 1968).
Cindy Birdsong was born in Mount Holly, New Jersey, but she spent her early childhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Camden New Jersey.
Birdsong’s career began to take shape when she met Patti LaBelle and formed the legendary group Patti Labelle & The Bluebelles.
Cindy Birdsong was a member of The Bluebelles when they hit big with their best-known single “I Sold My Heart to The Junkman.”
In July of 1967, Cindy Birdsong officially joined The Supremes as the replacement for troubled singer Florence Ballard.
On December 2, 1968, Cindy Birdsong was returning to her apartment with her boyfriend Charles Hewlett and friend Howard Meak.
It was there, that 26-year-old Charles L. Collier, who was Cindy Birdsong’s neighbor, burst into her apartment, at knife point and abducted her.
According to reports, Charles Collier then forced Cindy Birdsong to bind her boyfriend and his companion.
Birdsong was then forced into Collier’s car and held at knife point as he drove along a Long Beach California highway.
Birdsong told police that she eventually grabbed Collier’s butcher knife by the blade, before she opened the door and jumped out, while the vehicle was traveling 40 mph.
Birdsong suffered from cuts and bruises and she also needed five stitches to close the wound on her hand, from grabbing the knife.
A four-day manhunt ensued and police described Collier as a “sloppy, barefoot hippie-type Caucasian, in his mid-20’s.”
The high-profile kidnapping made headlines around the world, because of the proximity in time to the Charles Manson murders.
Charles L. Collier eventually surrendered to Las Vegas, Nevada police and admitted to kidnapping Cindy Birdsong.
In April 1970, Charles Collier was convicted of kidnapping, joyriding and first-degree robbery.
In April 1972, Cindy Birdsong left The Supremes when she became pregnant with her son.