MADERA, Calif. — One of the three kidnappers in the infamous Chowchilla school bus kidnapping has again been denied parole.

Madera County District Attorney Michael Keitz said on Wednesday that the California Board of Parole Hearings ordered that James Schoenfeld remain in prison. It was the 17th time that he has been denied parole.

In a day-long hearing on Wednesday, Madera County and Alameda County prosecutors argued that Schoenfeld is "still too dangerous" to re-enter society, according to a statement from Keitz's office.

“I am pleased the Board of Parole Hearings could understand and appreciate the unsuitability of Mr. Schoenfeld for release into the public,” Keitz said.

The board ordered that Schoenfeld's suitability for parole be re-examined in three years.

On July 15, 1976, James Schoenfeld, his brother Richard Schoenfeld and Frederick Woods hijacked a school bus in Chowchilla, Calif., and then imprisoned the 26 children and their bus driver in a buried moving van. The trio intended to demand a $5 million ransom.

But after 16 hours, bus driver Ed Ray and some of the students were able to break through a covered opening in the van's ceiling and get everyone to safety.

In 1977, the Schoenfelds and Woods were sentenced to life in prison.

Richard Schoenfeld was released on parole last year. Woods remains in prison; he was denied parole for the 13th time in November.

School bus driver Ed Ray died last year at age 91.

About the author
Thomas McMahon

Thomas McMahon

Executive Editor

Thomas had covered the pupil transportation industry with School Bus Fleet since 2002. When he's not writing articles about yellow buses, he enjoys running long distances and making a joyful noise with his guitar.

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