Man Responsible for Biggest Kidnapping in U.S. History Recommended for Parole

The California man responsible for what is considered to be the biggest kidnapping in history by kidnapping of 26 children on a school bus in 1976 was recently recommended for parole.

Frederick Newhall Woods, one of the three men responsible for hijacking the school bus Chowchilla, CA that was carrying 26 children and the bus driver. The children and the driver were taken 12 hours away from the scene of the kidnapping and buried the hostages alive in an underground truck trailer.

Since his conviction, Woods has attempted to be granted parole 17 times to no avail. However, during his 18th year of eligibility, he was recommended by two commissioners but it would still need approval from the full parole board, the board’s legal division and Gov. Gavin Newsom.

While the children and driver did not suffer from life-threatening injuries they did report psychological harm following the ordeal. This, after the driver and two of the older kids managed to dig their way out of the underground enclosure.

During Friday’s hearing, Woods read an apology. “I’ve had empathy for the victims which I didn’t have then,” he said. “I’ve had a character change since then.”

“I was 24 years old,” Woods added. “Now I fully understand the terror and trauma I caused. I fully take responsibility for this heinous act.”


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