Crimes and Consequences Weekly Podcast Release

26 Elementary Students Buried Alive

Frank Edward
Bus driver Ed Ray in front of the bus he drove the day of the Chowchilla kidnapping.

OJuly 15, 1976, a school bus full of 26 children went missing from the small town of Chowchilla, CA. “Most people can tell you exactly where they were when the bus and all those children disappeared. In the way of small towns, the connections to that dark moment are personal.”

At 4:00 pm on that July afternoon, school bus driver Frank Edward “Ed” Ray was driving 26 students, ranging from five to fourteen years old, home from Dairyland Elementary School. It was during Ed’s routine route that they approached a van blocking the road ahead.

Ed immediately noticed the hood of the vehicle was propped up, so he slowed down to see if someone was in distress. It was at this point when three gunmen with pantyhose covering their faces jumped out and boarded the school bus. The three gunmen that ambushed the bus were 24-year-old Frederick Newhall Woods, 24-year-old James Schoenfeld, and James’s brother, Richard Schoenfeld, aged 22.


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mariya hamilton

Special thanks to our new contributor, Mariya Hamilton, for all the hard work she put into researching and writing this fascinating true crime story for us.  

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