Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Chowchilla school bus kidnappers

On July 15, 1976, three reckless young men, all black sheep from affluent California families, thought they had committed the "perfect crime" when they carjacked and a school bus full of children, and held all 26 children and the driver, Ed Ray, for a $5 million ransom.

The Chowchilla kidnapping

On July 25, 1977, one year and ten days after the crime, Frederick Woods, and brothers Richard and James Schoenfeld pleaded guilty to kidnapping a school bus full of children and holding them for ransom. Richard Shoenfeld was released on parole in the summer of 2012; the other two remain incarcerated.

Chowchilla Bus Kidnapper Denied Parole for 17th Time

A California parole board has once again denied parole for one of the three men convicted in a crime that remains one of Chowchilla’s most notorious.

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