Richard Schoenfeld, the convicted kidnapper who took 26 schoolchildren and their bus driver in Chowchilla, Calif., and buried them alive in a rock quarry 36 years ago, is expected to be released from prison within the next week, NBC Bay Area has learned.
That is a big change from the 2021 parole date that Schoenfeld was last given.
But in a statement Friday to NBCBayArea.com, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman Luis Patino said: "Schoenfeld will be released to an undisclosed location during the second half of the month of June 2012. As this is a developing situation, no other details are available at this time.”
Patino added that the prison body has "been informed that the California Supreme Court has declined to review an appellate court's earlier decision granting immediate parole to Richard Schoenfeld. As such CDCR does not have any legal option other than to release inmate Shoenfeld and will do so."
Schoenfeld, his brother, James Schoenfeld, and Frederick Woods kidnapped 26 children and their bus driver on July 15, 1976, buried them alive in a rock quarry in Livermore, Calif., and then planned to demand a $5 million ransom. The victims miraculously escaped.
Frank Edward Ray, the school bus driver hailed as a hero for helping lead the children to safety after 16 hours underground, died May 17 at the age of 91 in Chowchilla.
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