The criminal mastermind convicted of kidnapping 26 schoolchildren and burying them alive in one of the most notorious crimes in American history may soon be on the loose.
the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation authorized Frederick Newhall Woods70, on parole after a eligibility hearing March 25, according to his inmate file.
Records show that Wood’s first parole hearing was held on July 15, 1982, and that the panel denied his application 17 times before he was granted parole on Friday.
Forest is one of the three California Men who orchestrated the 1976 Chowchilla kidnapping.
Bus driver on July 15 EdRay returned from the local fairgrounds in the town of Chowchilla, which is about 150 miles southeast of San Francisco. Local Records Details of the crime show that the 26 children on board the bus were celebrating the last day of summer school.
The group’s ordeal from hell began when Ray stopped the bus after encountering a van in the middle of the road.
A man with a gun then approached Ray while two others got on the bus and ordered the children to get into the van and another vehicle.
The bus was abandoned, and the vehicles carrying the children and Ray were driven around for hours before arriving at a gravel pit about 100 miles away.
public data state that the children and Ray, who was 55 at the time, were then ordered down a shaft and into a semi-trailer truck, where they were buried by Woods and his two accomplices, brothers Richard and Jacob Schoenfeld.
At the same time, a massive search and rescue operation was launched, leaving many parents fearing the worst after local police found the abandoned school bus.
Back at the quarry, the sweltering heat proved unbearable for the group, prompting Ray to devise an escape plan.
He asked the seven boys on board to help him stack the mattresses left behind by the kidnappers, which eventually reached high enough for them to access a trapdoor on the trailer’s roof. Shortly thereafter, one of the boys squeezed through and dug out of the grave.
The group had been trapped for 16 hours at this point.
This boy ran and alerted a security guard at the quarry to the news that a busload of children had been buried alive.
The children were freed and found to be in good condition after visiting a nearby rehabilitation center. They then returned home to Chowchilla on July 17, two days after their ordeal began.
Law enforcement quickly identified Woods as a person of interest in the case since his father owned the quarry.
Two weeks later, members of the Canadian Mounted Police in Vancouver found Wood’s hideout in a modest hotel.
A search of his family’s estate also revealed a gun used in the crime and a draft ransom note demanding $5 million.
Woods had planned to call the police and demand a $5 million ransom after leaving the quarry, but all lines were busy after word of the missing children spread.
Instead, he went to bed and awoke to find the children had fled the bus.
Woods and his co-conspirators eventually struck a deal with prosecutors who would drop all robbery charges against them in exchange for their guilty pleas in all the kidnapping counts.
The three men were sentenced to life imprisonment but successfully appealed the court’s decision and had their sentence reduced to eight years or life imprisonment.
Richard Schoenfeld was eventually released on parole in 2012, while his brother Jonathan was released three years later in 2015.
Now Woods will join the three, provided he gets the backing of the California governor Gavin Newsom (D).
Governor Newsom may request that the California Parole Board review the panel’s decision, but he cannot overrule the decision. Only convicted murderers can have their parole decision overturned by the California governor.
No date has been set for Woods’ release. Nonetheless, with his considerable confidence, he has bought a mansion just 30 minutes from the California men’s colony in San Luis Obispo, where he is serving his sentence.
It has been reported that Woods has a trust valued at up to $100 million.
Law&Crime spoke to Woods’ attorney Gary Dubcoff on Wednesday, who said: “I am delighted that the parole board has finally correctly recognized that Mr Woods is not a danger to anyone. It just makes me a little sad that his biggest supporters — his parents, Senator Bob Presley, Judge Bill Newsom, Sgt. Detective Dale Fore, Attorney Herb Yanowitz — didn’t live long enough to see it.”
Dubcoff also provided Law&Crime with the document in support of Woods’ parole request.
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https://lawandcrime.com/crime/chowchilla-kidnapping-frederick-newhall-woods-parole/ Chowchilla kidnapper Frederick Newhall Woods is allowed to walk free