Man Who Helped Kidnap And Bury 26 Children And Their Bus Driver Will Be Released On Parole | Eastern North Carolina Now | The third man convicted of kidnapping and burying alive 26 children and their bus driver in 1976 will be released on parole.

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    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the The Daily Wire. The author of this post is Ashe Schow.

    The third man convicted of kidnapping and burying alive 26 children and their bus driver in 1976 will be released on parole.

    Frederick Woods, who, along with two accomplices, kidnapped the children and buried them alive in a van in order to obtain ransom money, will be released from prison on an undisclosed date, the Associated Press reported. Woods and his accomplices, Richard and James Schoenfeld, attempted to get $5 million from the state in what a prosecutor described as "the largest mass kidnapping in U.S. history."

    In March, Woods was approved for parole after more than 17 previous denials, The Daily Wire reported, but it still had to be finalized and reviewed by Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA). Newsom on Tuesday asked the state's parole board to reconsider Woods' release, but the board affirmed its previous decision.

    Newsom requested the reconsideration in part because Woods "continued to engage in financial related-misconduct in prison," the governor said, adding that Woods had used a contraband cellphone to offer advice to people operating a Christmas tree farm, a gold mining business, and a car dealership, the AP reported. Because Woods wasn't convicted of murder (all the children and the bus driver survived), Newsom couldn't block his release.

    Woods and the Schoenfeld's hijacked a bus driven by Frank "Ed" Ray, and drove him and the 26 children onboard to a truck trailer they had buried 12 feet underground near a rock quarry owned by Wood's father. The kidnappers kept the victims in the trailer, which was equipped with a ventilation system and toilets. They provided the victims food and water while waiting for the ransom money they demanded.

    Ray, however, came up with a plan to save the children. He and 14-year-old Michael Marshall - one of the kidnapped children - were able to remove a manhole cover that blocked a hole in the trailer. They were able to dig their way out while the kidnappers slept. Hours later, they reached the surface and Ray was able to assist all 26 children escape.

    Two weeks after the escape, Woods and the Schoenfelds were arrested for the crimes and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, though those sentences were eventually overturned. Richard Schoenfeld was released on parole in 2012. His brother James was released in 2015.

    Wood's official release date has not been released, due to safety concerns.
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