Chowchilla 1976
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Chowchilla kidnappings

Chowchilla 1976
Officials retrieve a moving van buried at a rock quarry in Livermore, Calif., in which 26 Chowchilla schoolchildren and their bus driver were held captive in the mid-'70s. The three men who kidnapped the busload of of children, ages 5 to 14, and entombed them in the quarry are up for parole again, and this time, they have the support of the judge, prosecutors and investigators who handled their notorious case.

Decades after school bus kidnapping, strong feelings in Chowchilla (Associated Press)
Police and parents inspect the Dairyland Union school bus
Police and parents inspect the empty school bus, found in a thicket near Chowchilla. Three young men from wealthy local families kidnapped the children and their driver in the largest kidnapping for ransom in U.S. history.
Read the story: Decades after school bus kidnapping, strong feelings in Chowchilla (Associated Press)
Alameda County crime lab and FBI
Members of the Alameda County crime lab and FBI work around the opening to the buried van. The kidnappers made each child give his or her name and a piece of clothing, then climb down a ladder into the van. Along one wall were dirty mattresses and containers of water. It was stuffy, with only two air tubes. Above them, the men started throwing dirt over the roof. Children screamed. One fainted. The bus driver tried to soothe them, but he was crying. He was sure the roof was going to cave in.
Read the story: Decades after school bus kidnapping, strong feelings in Chowchilla (Associated Press)
Officers escort children
The children are returned to Chowchilla on a Greyhound bus.
Read the story: Decades after school bus kidnapping, strong feelings in Chowchilla (File Photo)
Reunited
Rodney Park, of Chowchilla, holds his children Andrea, 8, and Larry, 11, after their early-morning reunion. (Associated Press)
Inside the van
A view of the interior of the van in which the children and driver were held captive. They dug their way to freedom after 16 hours.
Read the story: Decades after school bus kidnapping, strong feelings in Chowchilla (Associated Press)
James Schoenfeld
One of the three kidnappers, James Schoenfeld, leaves jail in Oakland, Calif., with a member of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department. The other two kidnappers were Schoenfeld’s brother Richard Schoenfeld and their friend Frederick N. Woods.
Read the story: Decades after school bus kidnapping, strong feelings in Chowchilla (Associated Press)
Frederick N. Woods
Kidnapper Frederick N. Woods, 24, shown in 1976.
Read the story: Decades after school bus kidnapping, strong feelings in Chowchilla (Associated Press)
Richard Schoenfeld
Richard Schoenfeld was 22 at the time of the crime. In 2008, a two-person parole board panel deemed Schoenfeld “suitable for parole,” an initial step on the road to possible release. A new panel is scheduled to reconsider that decision at a hearing Tuesday. Even if the panel approves the earlier finding, Schoenfeld, now 56, would not be scheduled for release until 2021, and his parole would have to clear several more hurdles, including review by the governor. The other two kidnappers have yet to be found suitable for parole.
Read the story: Decades after school bus kidnapping, strong feelings in Chowchilla (Associated Press)
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