Before the crash
Katherine Austen was born in rural Iowa in the year 1977. Her mother, Diane Janssen, became pregnant with Kate by a man named Wayne (possibly while she was still married to Sam Austen). Kate grew up believing that Sam was her biological father. Eventually, Diane returned to Wayne, despite the physical abuse he inflicted upon her. Wayne (who was an alcoholic) made repeated advances toward Kate, who who was still unaware of the "true" identity of her father.
One day while making a photo album of all Sam’s war pictures, a date caught Kate’s eye. A picture showed Sam at war, dated nine months before Kate was born. Kate then understood the truth, Wayne was her real father, as there was no way Sam had contact with Diane around the time of Kate's conception. Disgusted at how he was ruining her mother's life, Kate blew up Wayne's house while he was still inside. Before fleeing, Kate consulted Diane about what she had done. Diane, fueled by the fact that her own daughter had just killed the man she loved, gave Kate up to the police.
As Kate lived a life on the run, Diane remained as a lonely widow who eventually developed cancer. With the help of her best friend, Tom Brennan, Kate made it possible to visit her dying mother in the hospital. Diane, who was apparently unaware of the setup, was extremely taken by surprise when her daughter showed up and subsequently began to scream for help for fear that Kate would kill her too. A doctor rushed in to see what was going on, but Kate ran for the door just in time. This was the last encounter Diane had with her daughter before she died. Meanwhile, Tom and Kate had gotten into Tom's car and were speeding though the parking garage. This caused them to hit another car, killing Tom. With the police behind them, Kate was forced to run, leaving the toy airplane the two had dug up the night before behind.
Kate then took the assumed name of Monica and ran away to Florida, where she married a police officer named Kevin Callis. Kate, who had been calling the Marshal who was after her, pleaded for him to stop chasing her now that she was settled. He promised to do so only if Kate would stay where she was, which she found herself unable to do when she realized that she couldn't trick Kevin forever. After a negative pregnancy test, she confessed to Kevin who she really was before fleeing. Kevin tried to go after her, but he collapsed on the floor due to Kate drugging him.
During another conversation with the Marshal, Edwards Mars, he told Kate he had the airplane in a safe deposit box in New Mexico. Kate was able to get a hold of the toy by using a man named Jason as her pawn to get inside. Kate then fled to Australia where she boarded with a man named Ray Mullen fine for 4 months until the widowed farmer noticed Kate's wanted poster at the post office. He decided to contact the police with the reward being $23,000. Not a part of his plan, however, Kate decided to leave one night. Ray convinced her to stay until the morning, where he would then drive her to the train station. The next day, as they were in Ray's pickup, Kate noticed they were being followed by the Marshal. Kate crashed the vehicle, catching the car on fire. She was kept back though, due to Ray's injuries, pulling him out of the car to his safety. As a result, Kate was detained by Edward Mars. Flying back to the United States for trial, Kate sat handcuffed in seat 27H of Oceanic Flight 815.
On the island
Whilst many survivors were unconscious, Kate remembered seeing the plane being ripped apart. Once safely on the beach, Kate realized that she had an opportunity to be free of the fear of prosecution. No one would suspect the sweet brown-haired woman to be the fugitive on the plane. After freeing herself of her handcuffs, Kate helped Jack to sew up a laceration he had suffered from the crash. This encounter caused the two to form a close bond and Kate was quick to join Charlie and him in locating the plane's cockpit. After the transceiver had been fixed, Kate gathered a band of survivors and together, they climbed up one of the Island's steep cliffs, where they were able to listen to Rousseau's distress signal. Upon Kate's return from the hike, she refused to kill Mars when he asked her to and, in turn, had Sawyer do it.
A few days later, Kate kissed Sawyer so he would tell her where he had taken Shannon's asthma medication. After their lip lock, the con man revealed to Kate that he didn't even have the medication, getting himself a well earned slap across the face. Sawyer began to take a fancy for Kate after this confrontation, as the two were soon seen spending large amounts of time together. While swimming in a pond farther inland with Sawyer, Kate found the Halliburton case containing Tom's toy airplane.
When Michael began construction on the raft, Kate tried to squeeze herself a spot on it, realizing that it was her only chance to escape the police. Sawyer, who did not intend to give up his spot, revealed to everyone that Kate was the criminal that had been escorted by the Marshal. Kate was not there when the raft set sail and instead went with a group to the Black Rock on a mission for dynamite to blow up the hatch.
Kate was the first to enter the Hatch after the door was blown off. After accidentally damaging the computer, Desmond fled the hatch, leaving the job of pushing the button to the castaways, including Kate, who took regular shifts.
When Sawyer was brought to Jack from a gunshot wound, Kate watched over him constantly. She thought that perhaps Sawyer was being possessed by Wayne when he asked her why she had killed him. After Sawyer healed, the two took a walk outside the hatch where they saw a black horse, much like the one from Kate's past.
Kate got herself captured by the Others when the hunting party set out to find Michael. Jack decided to turn back, which spared her life. Kate was also one of the four people on the list the Others had given to Michael. When they arrived at the Capsule Dump, the group was ambushed. The five survivors were bought to the Pala Ferry where Hurley, Michael, and Walt were released. Kate, Jack, and Sawyer were then drugged and taken as prisoners to The Hydra.
When Kate awoke, she found herself inside a locker room with a bandage on her arm. She was able to shower and afterwards had breakfast with Ben, who told her that the next two weeks were going to be very unpleasant. Kate was then thrown into a cage opposite of Sawyer and was forced to work at a rock quarry. After days of escape attempts and defying the Others, Kate discovered that she could climb out of her cage through the top bars. However, Sawyer told her to run away and not bother saving him, saying "Every man for himself." Instead she climbed back into her cage, quoting Jack, "Live together, die alone," demonstrating that she would stick with him.
Juliet forced Kate to try and convince Jack to perform surgery on Ben when Pickett threatened to kill Sawyer. Jack refused to listen to her, however, and dismissed her from his presence. Overwhelmed at the thought of losing Sawyer, Kate ended up having sex with him in his cage. When Pickett came to shoot the con man the next morning, Kate was given a walkie talkie where she listened to Jack telling her to run.
Kate's False Identities
|Katharine Ryan||Possibly Iowa||Was used by Kate at some point while she was on the run.|
|Katherine Dodd||Possibly Iowa||This name appeared in Kate's mugshot.|
|Joan Hart||Nebraska/Ohio?||Kate used a motel shower to change and then went to the front desk where she gave the attendant this name.|
|Maggie Ryan||New Mexico||Kate staged a bank robbery near Ruidoso, N.M. to get the toy airplane from the safety deposit box.|
|Unknown||Washington||Kate told Jack that she spent some time in Fort Lewis, Washington as a child with her father.|
|Annie||Australia||Kate lived on a farm with Ray Mullen, who turned her in for a $23,000 reward.|
|Monica Callis||Florida||Kate and her husband Kevin Callis lived in Dade County, Florida.|
- According to the Marshal, Tom Brennan was killed a couple years before the plane crash, which would place Born to Run in 2002.
- Kate presumably left Iowa before Tom's son Conner was born. Conner was almost 22 months old in Born to Run.
- The cat vs. mouse adversarial relationship between Kate and Edward Mars is reminiscent of Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert in Victor Hugo's Les Miserables.
- Tom & Kate's time capsule was buried on August 15 (8 15), 1989, roughly 15 years before the plane crash. (The Numbers)
- The safety deposit box that contained Kate's toy plane was box #815. (The Numbers)
- Why was she taken by the Others?
- Who sent her money in a letter informing her Diane was dying?
- What happened to her wrists in between the time on the beach with Ben and her placement in the cage opposite Sawyer? The cuffs alone did not do all that damage...
- What did the Others do to her?
- If Kate escapes her cage, would she be able to swim the distance to the main island?
- In I Do, Kate's husband buys her tickets to Costa Rica on Oceanic airlines...is this just a coincidence?
- Did her "encounter" with Sawyer in I Do leave her pregnant?