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Who has better hair, Kathleen Soliah, Sara Jane Olson, Radovan Karadzic, or Dragan Dabic?

Kathleen Ann Soliah — aka Sara Jane Olson (and Kathleen Soliah and Kathy Soliah, all of which can be searched in Biography Resource Center and yield the same results list thanks to variant name functionality) — was released from prison yesterday after serving nearly a full year subsequent to her previous release, which took place on March 20, 2008. (She had five days of freedom in between terms.) The first release was a result of a clerical error by the California Department of Corrections, so back to Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla she went.

Olson was a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army, a revolutionary/terrorist organization of radicals that gained fame by kidnapping Patty Hearst, the granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst. Olson was arrested in 1999 on murder conspiracy and weapons charges after spending nearly a quarter century hiding in plain sight as an actress, activist and mom in Minnesota.

Hearst and most of the surviving SLA members were captured, but Soliah escaped. By the late 1970s, she was living in Minneapolis under the name Sara Jane Olson and working as a cook at a college fraternity. It was there that she met medical student Fred Peterson, whom she married in 1980. Olson became well-known around the Minneapolis/St. Paul area as an accomplished cook, a talented stage actress and well-versed political activist. After spending time in Baltimore and Zimbabwe, the couple settled down in St. Paul to raise their three children. Peterson went on to work as an emergency room physician, while Olson appeared in numerous local stage productions and continued to be active in literacy programs and other social causes.

We have a goodly amount of information on another master of hiding-by-not-hiding skill, Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. Karadzic was unmasked as Dragan Dabic, a doctor of alternative medicine in Belgrade, in 2008 after more than a decade of living on the lam. Unfortunately for aficionados of incognito methodology everywhere, Olson and Karadzic will never have the opportunity to share a prison cell and trade disguise secrets.

Then again, never say never.

“Sara Jane Olson.” Biography Resource Center Online. Gale Group, 2000.
“Radovan Karadzic.” Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed. 17 Vols. Gale Research, 1998.

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Posted on: March 18, 2009, 1:11 pm Category: Factoids Tagged with: , , , ,

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