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Chowchilla kidnapper, now living with mother, is being monitored

June 23, 2012 |  2:02 pm

Richard Allen SchoenfeldOne of three men who kidnapped a busload of schoolchildren from Chowchilla, Calif., in 1976 is now living with his mother in Mountain View, Calif.

Richard Allen Schoenfeld was released on parole  late Wednesday, state prison officials said. He will be monitored 24 hours a day with a global positioning device.

An appeals court ordered Schoenfeld's release earlier this year on the grounds that the parole board had unfairly set his release date for 2021 even though it had found that he was no longer a threat to society. He had been denied parole 16 other times.

In the sensational case, Schoenfeld, his brother James Schoenfeld and Frederick Woods kidnapped 26 students and an adult bus driver on July 15, 1976. After the school bus was hidden in a drainage slough, the captives were imprisoned inside a  moving van that was buried in a quarry in Livermore.

With the help of the bus driver, the children managed to escape through a hole in the van's roof when their kidnappers took a nap before calling in their ransom demands.

Police told Channel 2 in Oakland that Schoenfeld would be aggressively monitored. An older brother told the station the man does not pose a threat to the community.


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Photo: An undated picture of Richard Allen Schoenfeld. Credit: California Department of Corrections