More than two decades after she allegedly tried to bomb a pair of Los Angeles police cars, former Symbionese Liberation Army soldier and federal fugitive Kathleen Soliah was arrested early yesterday near her home in Minnesota.
Soliah, whose 24 years on the run had taken her from San Francisco to Zimbabwe and finally to St. Paul, was arrested peaceably, not far from her expensive, Tudor-style home in an upscale neighborhood near the Mississippi River.
Living under the name Sara Jane Olson, Soliah was married to a physician with whom she had three children. She was involved in local Democratic politics and acted in community theater. Los Angeles Police Department detectives interviewed former acquaintances and family members and used the Internet to find Soliah. The detectives also received tips about the lesser-known SLA member from the TV show "America's Most Wanted," which broadcast a show last month about Soliah.
Soliah, 52, had been living on the run since Sept. 18, 1975, the day she unwittingly led FBI agents to Patricia Hearst, the kidnapped newspaper heiress who eventually took up arms with her SLA captors.
Soliah had come to the attention of the FBI after she gave a fiery speech condemning the May 17, 1974, shootout with Los Angeles police in which six SLA members died, including one of Soliah's best friends.
Soliah is charged with planting pipe bombs under two LAPD cars, in apparent retaliation for the shootout.
Her husband, Gerald Peterson, said neither he nor his children had any inkling of his wife's double life.
"I know nothing about that," Peterson said by telephone. "I'll tell you the truth, I'm totally shocked."
Soliah's parents, Martin and Elsie Soliah of Palmdale, Calif., said Peterson knew his wife was a fugitive.
"She told him about her situation when they got serious," Elsie Soliah said. "He understood."