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Thursday, June 17, 1999 Published at 02:24 GMT 03:24 UK


World: Americas

Hearst 'kidnapper' arrested

After she was kidnapped, Patty Hearst became a full SLA member

An alleged member of the American group which kidnapped the heiress Patricia Hearst in 1973 has been captured after living under a false identity for a quarter of a century.


[ image: Kathy Soliah photographed by police after her arrest]
Kathy Soliah photographed by police after her arrest
Kathleen Soliah, 52, has been wanted in Los Angeles since 1976, when she was indicted on murder conspiracy and explosives charges. The FBI said she also committed bombings and bank robberies with the Symbionese Liberation Army, an extremist urban guerrilla group.

She had been living in St. Paul, Minnesota, with her doctor husband and three daughters, working as an actress in local theatres.

She was found by FBI acting on tip-offs from viewers of the TV crime show "America's Most Wanted," which featured Ms Soliah in a broadcast last month - the 25th anniversary of a shootout in Los Angeles which left six SLA members dead.

She lived under the name of Olson, which is extremely common in Minnesota, where there are many people of Scandinavian origin.

Detectives said she was somewhat surprised and relieved at the same time when she was arrested.

Seventies radicalism


[ image: Kathy Soliah speaking in Berkeley in 1974]
Kathy Soliah speaking in Berkeley in 1974
The SLA was a group of left-wing radicals, who kidnapped Patty Hearst in February 1974, when she was 19. She was the daughter of the newspaper magnate Randolph Hearst.

The SLA demanded that he distribute food to the value of $2m before they would discuss her release.

But within two months Patty Hearst appeared to have become a member of the SLA, when she was photographed carrying a gun during a bank raid in San Francisco.

She seemed to be an early example of the Stockholm Syndrome, in which kidnap victims start to sympathise with their captors.

She later went underground, when she emerged in 1975, she claimed she had been brainwashed. She later served two years of a seven-year sentence before she was freed by then President Jimmy Carter.

Another former SLA member, James Kilgore, profiled on the same edition of "America's Most Wanted" is still at large.





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