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Last man jailed for 1976 Chowchilla bus abduction will be released, officials confirm


CHOWCHILLA, Calif. (KFSN) — The last man who was in jail for the 1976 Chowchilla bus abduction should be released.

On Wednesday, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officials said Fred Woods was granted parole on Tuesday.

Prosecutors considered Woods to be the mastermind of the crime.

On July 15, 1976, a bus driver and 26 children were on a school bus in Chowchilla when a van suddenly appeared and blocked the road.

Frederick Newhall Woods IV, 24, and brothers James Schoenfeld, 24, and Richard Schoenfeld, 22, held them captive in a box truck at a rock quarry north near Livermore.

The men planned to demand a ransom for their return, but the children and their driver escaped hours later.

The three brothers were arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment. In June 2012, at age 57, Richard Schoenfeld was granted parole and released from prison. Three years later, his older brother James was released.

ABC30 spoke to Larry Park, who was only seven at the time of the abduction. He admits to still being traumatized by the incident and says he struggled with addiction for most of his life.

Park wrote “The Chowchilla Abduction: Why Me?” and published it in 2016.

The CDCR did not specify when exactly Fred will be released.

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