Patty Hearst: 50 Years After a Kidnapping, Now Famous for Her Beloved Dogs

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Fifty years ago, Patricia “Patty” Hearst, a 19-year-old college student and heiress, made headlines when she was kidnapped at gunpoint by the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA).

The SLA demanded food and money for the poor in exchange for her release, even after her family paid a $2 million ransom. Surprisingly, instead of resisting, Hearst joined her captors, adopting the name “Tania” and participating in a 1974 San Francisco bank robbery.

Hearst’s journey from victim to participant sparked discussions about Stockholm syndrome, a phenomenon where hostages develop a bond with their captors. Despite her initial captivity, she was eventually arrested by the FBI in 1975.

The trial that followed, marked by a compelling jail cell recording of Hearst discussing her role, became one of the decade’s most sensational events. Although sentenced to seven years, President Jimmy Carter commuted her sentence after 22 months, and she was later pardoned by President Bill Clinton.

Turning the page on her tumultuous past, Patty Hearst, now Patricia Hearst Shaw, celebrates her 70th birthday on February 20. She found an unexpected source of support in her late husband, Bernard Shaw, the police officer who once guarded her during her time out on bail.

Patty Hearst: 50 Years After a Kidnapping, Now Famous for Her Beloved Dogs

In recent years, Hearst has made headlines not for controversy but for her love of dogs, particularly French Bulldogs. Her canine companions have not only become prize-winners but also fixtures at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show.

Patty Hearst’s life is a tale of resilience, transformation, and unexpected turns. From a sensational kidnapping to a bank heist and then a life dedicated to dogs, her story remains a testament to the unpredictable nature of human experience.

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