Who is Frederick Newhall Woods?

In 1976, a group of men hijacked a school bus carrying 26 children and a driver and buried them alive.

One of the offenders, Frederick Newhall Woods, was granted parole in March 2022.

Frederick Newhall Woods was eligible for parole in 2022


Frederick Newhall Woods was eligible for parole in 2022

Who is Frederick Newhall Woods?

Frederick Newhall Woods was 24 at the time of the 1976 Chowchilla school bus kidnapping.

On Friday, March 25, 2022, Woods read an apology at his parole hearing.

“I was 24 years old,” he said per FoxNews.

“Now I fully understand the terror and trauma I caused. I take full responsibility for this heinous act.”

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Woods added, “I had empathy for the victims, which I didn’t have at the time.”

After the kidnapping, Woods and his co-conspirators – Richard and James Schoenfeld – each pleaded guilty.

At that time they were sentenced to 27 life sentences without the possibility of parole.

An appeals court later overturned the sentences, ruling that the men should have a chance of parole at some point during their time behind bars.

In 2012, Richard was paroled.

His brother followed three years later.

What happened at Frederick Newhall Wood’s parole hearing?

Frederick Newhall Woods first became eligible for parole in 1982 and has had 18 parole hearings since then.

His parole hearing in March 2022 was held at California Male colony, a state prison.

If the hearing panel’s decision stands, it will become final 120 days after the hearing.

After the deadline, the governor has 30 days to review his decision.

He can then let the decision stand or forward it to a full board for further review.

Victims of the kidnapping, now adults, agreed CNN in 2015 about her remaining fears surrounding the tragic event.

“I’m so overwhelmed that I had to quit work,” said Darla Neal, who was a 10-year-old college student at the time of the kidnapping.

“I tell myself I should be able to shake that off and deal with it. But here I am, a mess.”

Frederick Newhall Woods was arrested along with James and Richard Schoenfeld for the 1976 kidnapping


Frederick Newhall Woods was arrested along with James and Richard Schoenfeld for the 1976 kidnappingPhoto credit: Getty Images – Getty

What happened in the Chowchilla kidnapping?

On July 15, 1976, three men hijacked a school bus in Chowchilla, California, kidnapping 26 children, ages five to 14, and their driver.

The prisoners were held in a van and buried alive in a quarry in Livermore.

At the time of the kidnapping, Frank “Ed” Ray – the bus driver – was taking Dairyland Elementary School students home from a summer trip to the local county fair.

A van reportedly blocked the road in front of the bus, and three gunmen jumped out and confronted the driver.

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While underground, Ray and one of the older students managed to dig themselves out of the truck.

Sixteen hours after her funeral, the group escaped physically unharmed.

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