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Man who kidnapped 26 children, buried them alive up for parole

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Posted at 2:13 PM, Mar 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-29 16:13:01-04

A California parole board has approved the release of a 70-year-old man imprisoned for one of the largest mass kidnappings in United States history.

Frederick Newhall Woods was approved for parole during a hearing Friday. The parole board will now conduct a 120-day review of the decision. After that, California Governor Gavin Newsom can reject the grant or allow it to stand.

Woods and two other men kidnapped 26 children and their bus driver in Chowchilla in 1976. The kidnappers put the children and bus driver in a moving truck then buried them alive in a quarry.

They demanded $5 million ransom for their release. But the captives escaped after 16 hours underground by digging themselves out.

All three men pleaded guilty to the crime. The other two men have since been paroled. Woods is the last one still in prison.

This case apparently inspired by a plot point in the famous Clint Eastwood movie, Dirty Harry.