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Chowchilla man behind 1976 kidnapping of 26 children and bus driver will be released on parole

A parole board affirmed Tuesday that Frederick Woods, one of three men convicted of kidnapping a school bus full of 26 children and their driver in Chowchilla in 1976, will be released, according to officials.

Woods, 70, was first found suitable for parole in a hearing at the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo on March 25, marking the 18th time he appeared in front of the parole board, according to Terry Thornton, a spokesperson for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Woods was previously denied parole 17 times.

Frederick Woods.

(Associated Press)

Gov. Gavin Newsom referred Woods’ parole grant for review by the board, which occurred Tuesday. Woods release date was not disclosed because of safety and security reasons, Thornton said.

Woods and accomplices Richard and James Schoenfeld plotted for a year to get a $5-million ransom from the state’s Board of Education.

Woods said during a previous parole hearing that he had gotten “greedy” while James Schoenfeld told parole officials that he was jealous of his friends who had “his-and-hers Ferraris.” Woods said during an earlier parole hearing that he just “got greedy,” saying in 2012 that he didn’t need the money.

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