The Kidnapping of Patty Hearst when Justice changed all

Patricia Cambell Hearst went from being a poor, innocent girl who was taken from her home and family, to the FBI's most wanted. Hearst's case is an interesting one that takes a dramatic turn. The kidnapping of Patty Hearst undoubtedly changed American culture.

Patricia Cambell Hearst


Patty Hearst is from a very wealthy family (Connelly, Sheryl). Her father, Randolph Hearst, cared for her so dearly, he would do anything for her (Biography). Finally finding her first true love she decided to settle down in an apartment with her soon to be husband (FBI). It was February 4, 1974 when the couple was awakened by a knock at their door (FBI). Armed men whom called themselves the Symbionese Liberation Army, SLA, barged in, they weren't leaving without Patty (FBI). The fiancé did all he could to save her, but they managed to beat him up and knock him out (FBI). Patty was dragged in the trunk of a car, locked up in the dark, terrified (FBI).

Patty Hearst during the bank robbery.

The Crime

No one was worried more than her father, his poor little girl was taken away by terrorists. So, when the SLA demanded 400 million dollars to stage a California food giveaway for her release, he quickly gave all he could, 2 million dollars (Connelly, Sheryl). About a month after her kidnapping everything took a turn. She went from headlining "Kidnapped" on the covers of newspapers to "FBI's Most Wanted" when a video was released of her saying she joined the fight with the SLA (CBS News). She found her self falling in love with one of the members (Crime Museum). Two days later we saw Patty taking part in a bank robbery under her new name Tania (Connelly, Sheryl). Clearly, no longer the Patty before she was kidnapped, she was caught on December 18, 1975 in San Francisco (FBI).

Patty Hearst's mug shots

The Aftermath

Young and confused Patricia Hearst was sentenced to 7 years in prison for her part in the bank robbery (FBI). After only 22 months, however, she was commuted by President Jimmy Carter and then 20 years later pardoned by President Bill Clinton (FBI). The kidnapping of Patty Hearst certainly changed American culture. Her kidnapping contributed to the study of Stockholm Syndrome, which is when a hostage, like Patty, develops positive feelings for their captors (Biography). Also, many believe that this case showed how wealth can get you out of trouble (CBS News).

What Patty Heart looks like today

Works Cited

CBS News. "'American Heiress' revisits dramatic saga of Patty Hearst." 3 August 2016.

Connelly, Sheryl. "Patty Hearst kidnapping drama, militant conversion, ensuing trial documented in Jeffery Toobin's American Heiress." 23 July 2016.

Crime Museum. "Patty Hearst Kidnapping." 6 December 2016.

U.S. Department of Justice. "Patty Hearst." 1 December 2016.

"Patty Hearst Biography." 22 September 2014.

Created By
Isabelle Esquivel


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