Patty Hearst Captured!
By Patrick Mondout
On September 18, 1975, four Symbionese
Liberation Army members and kidnapped heiress turned 'urban guerilla'
Patricia Hearst were finally captured without incident. Hearst's
kidnapping, the bank
robbery she participated in, the SLA
shootout in LA, and her capture were four of the biggest news stories
of the decade.
The big break came when Jack Scott's loose-lipped brother Walter told
local police and then the FBI about how his brother had driven Patty
Hearst across the country. Rather than simply contend the statements were
false, Jack Scott and his attorney attempted to frame it as an attempt to
harass him and his family and also used the opportunity to take shots at
his brother, "The FBI has shown a willingness to exploit Walter's
personal, emotional, and physical problems in order to turn him against my
family." No one bought his ridiculous defense, least of which the FBI
and they soon discovered the long abandoned farmhouse used by Scott and
his companion Micki to harbor the terrorists.
The FBI eventually became aware of a pair of San Francisco safehouses
used by the group. How they learned of the addresses is complicated:
- Wendy Yoshimura was part of an earlier terrorist group known as the
- That group included future SLA member Michael Bortin plus Wendy's
boyfriend Willie Brandt and Paul Rubenstein.
- A note from the Revolutionary Army claiming responsibility for a
planned bombing of an ROTC building was found in Yoshimura's car,
tying her to Brandt.
- Kathleen Soliah attracted the FBI's attention when she visited
Brandt in the Soledad prison he had been sentenced to.
- Wendy Yoshimura's finger prints were found in a Jack Scott's
Pennsylvania safehouse known to have been used by Patty Hearst and
Bill & Emily Harris.
- When FBI agents noticed the possible connection between Soliah and
Yoshimura (Brandt), they checked the backgrounds of friends and family
members, who told them that some of them worked as contract painters.
- They eventually interviewed Bill Osgood, manager of the Pacifica
Apartments, who recognized Michael
Bortin as one of the "hippie" painters he had hired.
- They were soon on the trail of Kathleen, and followed her to an
apartment that happened to be were Patty Hearst was staying (they
would learn later).
- They trialed Steven Soliah the next morning as he went to the
apartment where Bill & Emily Harris were staying.
- The Harrises went out for a morning jog. Agents waited until they
came back before arresting them. Emily tried to make a run for it, but
- Expecting to find Patty in the Harrises apartment, the agents were
disappointed. They'd find more joy in the apartment they had steaked
out the night before...
FBI agents surrounded the apartment Steven Soliah had been seen leaving
that morning. They slowly made their way to the top floor, where both
Wendy Yoshimura and Patty Hearst were staying. As agent Tom Padden looked
in through the window in the door, Yoshimura was looking right back at
him! He yelled, "Freeze! FBI! Freeze!" Wendy didn't move. Patty
jumped out of her chair and headed for the bedroom but Padden again
yelled, "Come out or I'll blow her head off!"
Hearst stopped and the "manhunt" for the most famous woman in
America ended. When she was booked, she was asked for her occupation.
"Urban guerilla," was her famous reply.
Steven Soliah, showing a callous disregard for his own freedom,
actually went back to the Harrises apartment after heard about the arrests
and was promptly arrested himself. His sister Kathleen
Kilgore became the only SLA members who were still on the run. They
would elude police for a quarter of a century.
Most Americans were happy that the SLA members seemed to be either in
jail or dead, but "Free Tania!" and "We Love You,
Tania!" posters were all over places like Berkeley and Madison. She
was defiant at first, but eventually listened to F. Lee Bailey and other
legal advisors. Hearst
was later convicted for her role in the Hibernia
Bank robbery in March of 1976.
- Shana Alexander, Anyone's
Daughter: The Times and Trials of Patricia Hearst,
- Carolyn Anspacher & the San Francisco Chronicle, The
Trial of Patty Hearst, Great Fidelity Press, 1976.
- Marilyn Baker, Exclusive!:
the inside story of Patricia Hearst and the SLA, Macmillan
- Mary F. Beal, Safe
House: A Casebook Study of Revolutionary Feminism in the 1970's,
Northwest Matrix, 1976.
- Jerry Belcher & Don West, Patty/Tania,
Pyramid Books, 1975
- David Boulton, The
Making Of Tania Hearst, Bergenfield, N.J., U.S.A.: New American
- John Bryan, This
Soldier Still At War, (on Joe Remiro) Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,
- Patty Hearst with Alvin Moscow, Patty
Hearst: Her Own Story, New York: Avon, 1982. This was the title
after the movie came out. Original title: Every Secret Thing.
- Sharon D. Hendry, Soliah:
The Sara Jane Olson Story, Cable Publishing, 2002.
- Janey Jimenez (U.S. Marshal who escorted Hearst between prison and the
court during the trial) with Ted Berkman, My
Prisoner, Sheed Andrews and McMeel, 1977.
- Jean Brown Kinney, An
American journey: The short life of Willy Wolfe, Simon and Schuster,
- Vin McLellan, Paul Avery, The
voices of guns: The definitive and dramatic story of the twenty-two-month
career of the Symbionese Liberation Army, one of the most bizarre chapters
in the history of the American Left, Putnam, 1977.
- John Pascal, The
Strange Case of Patty Hearst, New American Library, 1974.
- Findley & Craven Payne, Life
and Death of the SLA, Ballantine, 1976.
- Robert Brainard Pearsall, Symbionese
Liberation Army: Documents and Communications, Rodopi, 1974
- Fred Soltysik, In
Search of a Sister 1976.
- Steven Weed, with Scott Swanton. My
Search for Patty Hearst, New York: Warner, 1976. Weed was Hearst's
boyfriend at the time of the kidnapping. That was the end of their
- Video: Patty
Hearst, based on Every Secret Thing, directed by Paul
- Video: The Ordeal of Patty Hearst (1979) (TV)
- Video: Patty Hearst: The E! True Hollywood Story (2000) (TV)
- Video: Neverland:
The Rise and Fall of the Symbionese Liberation Army aka Guerrilla:
The Taking of Patty Hearst, Directed by Robert Stone, 2004,