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The Madera Tribune

Parole denied for Chowchilla kidnapper

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webmaster | 03/14/13

The Board of Parole Hearings denied Chowchilla kidnapper James Schoenfeld parole Wednesday for the next three years, county officials announced.

Schoenfeld, together with his brother Richard Schoenfeld and Frederick Woods, kidnapped a school bus full of children and the bus driver from Dairyland Union School in Chowchilla on July 15, 1976, and buried them alive in a rock quarry near Livermore. The trio demanded a $5 million ransom for the return of the victims, who ultimately escaped their captors.

All three of the kidnappers received life sentences, without the possibility of parole, in 1977 for the horrific crime. But in 1980, an appellate court ruled they would be eligible for parole. Richard Schoenfeld was paroled in 2012.

After a day-long session, prosecutors Linda Dunn of the Madera County District Attorney’s Office and Jill Klinge of the Alameda County DA’s Office convinced the Board of Parole Hearings Wednesday that James Schoenfeld was still too dangerous to be released into society. The board ordered that Schoenfeld remain in prison and his suitability for parole will be reexamined in three years...


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