Chowchilla Bus Kidnapper Released From Prison - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Chowchilla Bus Kidnapper Released From Prison

Posted:
Richard Schoenfeld | Courtesy: CDCR/AP Richard Schoenfeld | Courtesy: CDCR/AP
FRESNO, Calif. (KMPH) -

After more than 35 years in prison, one of three men who kidnapped a busload of schoolchildren in a ransom attempt in Chowchilla has been released on parole.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) says Richard Schoenfeld was released on parole to an undisclosed location Wednesday evening. CDCR officials say he will be monitored 24 hours a day by GPS.

Earlier this year, an appeals court ordered Schoenfeld's immediate release, ruling that the Board of Parole Hearings unfairly set his release date for 2021 even though it concluded he wasn't a threat to society.

But Schoenfeld had remained locked up while CDCR appealed to the California Supreme Court. On June 14, the high court notified CDCR that it was refusing to take the case.

Schoenfeld, his brother John Schoenfeld, and their friend Fred Woods hatched their kidnap-for-ransom plan in 1976 after falling into debt because of a real estate deal gone sour. They spent 18 months working on the plan.

On July 16, 1976, they pretended their van had engine problems along Avenue 21 in Chowchilla, prompting bus driver Ed Ray to pull over and park his bus of 26 summer school students.

The trio forced the victims into two vans and hid the bus in a creek bed. They drove about 100 miles to a Livermore quarry owned by Woods' father and sealed the children and Ray in a trailer in a cave. They then left to make their $5 million ransom demand.

The Chowchilla Police Department was swamped with so many calls that the kidnappers couldn't get through so they decided to take a nap before calling in their demand.

When they awoke, Ray and the two oldest children had managed to stack mattresses high enough to escape through the roof. Eventually, all the abductees staggered to safety.

Richard Schoenfeld turned himself in eight days later. His brother and Woods were arrested the next week.

John Schoenfeld and Woods have parole hearings later this year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Suspected Teen Burglar Escapes From Officer At Fresno Hospital

    Suspected Teen Burglar Escapes From Officer At Fresno Hospital

    17-year-old Raymond Robinson of Fresno is still on the run.Fresno police are searching for Robinson after he was arrested suspected of burglary.More >>
    17-year-old Raymond Robinson of Fresno is still on the run.Fresno police are searching for Robinson after he was arrested suspected of burglary.More >>
  • Scam Alert: Crooks Use Lottery Name, Promise Millions and a New Car

    Scam Alert: Crooks Use Lottery Name, Promise Millions and a New Car

    Chances are, when you hear “Mega Millions” you think of the lottery.You pick numbers and fill out a ticket at a convenience store.But what if someone told you that you hit it big, and you didn’t even play?This happened to Eunice Weldy Wednesday.For days, the phone in her Clovis home was ringing off the hook.She finally answered.The caller told her she had won the so-called “Mega Millions Cash Reward.”The prize?$2.5 million dollars, and a brand new Mercedes Benz.“I'd have a blast—I really woul...More >>
    Chances are, when you hear “Mega Millions” you think of the lottery.You pick numbers and fill out a ticket at a convenience store.But what if someone told you that you hit it big, and you didn’t even play?This happened to Eunice Weldy Wednesday.For days, the phone in her Clovis home was ringing off the hook.She finally answered.The caller told her she had won the so-called “Mega Millions Cash Reward.”The prize?$2.5 million dollars, and a brand new Mercedes Benz.“I'd have a blast—I really woul...More >>
  • Sam's Shoe Store In Reedley Celebrates 100 Years In Business

    Sam's Shoe Store In Reedley Celebrates 100 Years In Business

    Sam's Shoe Store has been a fixture in Downtown Reedley since 1914. The patriarch Sam Parichan was a shoe cobbler in Armenia who came to America when Reedley had muddy streets in the winter. Ralph Parichan, Sam's grandson was the fourth member of the family to buy Sam's in 1961. "I went into the service and I came out and I didn't want to go to school anymore and this was available to come here and work. They needed help so I just came to work here. Eventually it just worked out that way." Pa...More >>
    Sam's Shoe Store has been a fixture in Downtown Reedley since 1914. The patriarch Sam Parichan was a shoe cobbler in Armenia who came to America when Reedley had muddy streets in the winter. Ralph Parichan, Sam's grandson was the fourth member of the family to buy Sam's in 1961. "I went into the service and I came out and I didn't want to go to school anymore and this was available to come here and work. They needed help so I just came to work here. Eventually it just worked out that way." Pa...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KMPH. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.