No Parole Again For Chowchilla School Bus Kidnapper

The Madera County Board of Parole Hearings on Wednesday denied parole for the next three years to one of the men convicted in the 1976 kidnapping of a bus full of school children.

In a daylong session, prosecutors convinced the parole hearings board that James Schoenfeld was still too dangerous to be released into society, said Madera County District Attorney Michael Keitz.

Schoenfeld, together with his brother Richard and Frederick Woods, kidnapped a school bus full of children and the bus driver from Dairyland Union School in Chowchilla on July 15, 1976.{}

The three men then buried them alive in a rock quarry near Livermore. They demanded a $5 million ransom for the return of the victims, who ultimately escaped their captors.

The three men received life sentences, without the possibility of parole, in 1977. However, in 1980, an appellate court ruled they would be eligible for parole.

Richard was paroled in 2012.

Schoenfeld's suitability for parole will be reexamined in three years, the District Attorney's Office said.