Frederick Woods has spent more than four decades in a California prison after he took part in the kidnapping of 26 children and their school bus driver and then helped bury them alive.
To some people that might not seem long enough, but the 70-year-old Woods has been approved for parole, according to a report, and it looks like he will be heading home. Perhaps surprisingly, he had the support of at least two of his victims, according to USA Today, at his recent parole hearing.
“I believe you have served enough time for the crime you committed,” Larry Park, one of those survivors reportedly said at that hearing.
Woods was convicted of kidnapping the bus full of children, ages 5-to-14, back on July 15, 1976 from their hometown just more than 100 miles outside of San Fransisco. He and his accomplices, Richard and James Schoenfeld, then drove them 100 miles to the town of Livermore where they loaded them into a moving truck and buried them alive.
They attempted to ransom $5 million from the state’s board of education in exchange for the group. According to USA Today, it was thought to be the largest “mass kidnapping in U.S. history.”
Incredibly, no one died in the incident, and the bus driver and the children managed to dig their way out after 16 hours. Woods’ accomplices have already been freed with Richard getting his release in 2012 and James three years later.
Woods, who had struck out at 17 previous parole hearings, apologized to the victims and said that he fully understood “the terror and trauma I caused.”
And, apparently, the 18th time was the charm.