The Chowchilla Kidnapping
A Long Journey
It was hard to tell how long the hostages were crammed into the dark and practically airless vans, but most now believe it to have been about 11 hours. Ed lost track of the time, some children dozed off, and everyone later had a different estimation of the duration of the trip.
In reality, the two vans left Chowchilla and drove to Livermore, a city approximately 100 miles to the northwest. But the route was roundabout and misleading, and so when the vans finally stopped, Ed and the children had no idea where they were or in what direction they had traveled.
The kids were hungry, some had soiled themselves during the long journey, and nobody knew what to expect when the vans finally came to a halt.
One of the kidnappers shouted out for the driver, and Ed became the first one let out of the dark mobile enclosures.
Ed couldn't see where he was, the landscape was a wasteland, and he was quickly directed to state his name, remove his pants and boots, and told to climb down a ladder sticking up out of the ground that appeared to lead down to a cavern.