Chowchilla kidnapper, 67, is up for parole 40 years after he abducted 26 kids ...

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The mastermind behind the Chowchilla kidnappings, Frederick Woods (above), 67, is due to appear before a parole board on Tuesday morning

The mastermind behind the Chowchilla kidnappings, Frederick Woods, is due to appear before a parole board on Tuesday morning, more than four decades after he abducted 26 school children and their bus driver before burying them alive in a California quarry.

Woods, now 67, was one of three Bay Area defendants in the case, which would later go on to become one of the most notorious and bizarre mass kidnappings in US history.

His co-defendants, brothers Richard and James Schoenfeld, were paroled in 2012 and 2015 respectively, but Woods has been denied supervised release 18 times - most recently in November - with the panel citing him to be a troublesome inmate.

Woods’ next parole hearing had been schedule for November 2021, however in April US District Judge Claudia Wilken ordered a new hearing within six months because of an undisclosed conflict of interest believed to have violated his right to a fair hearing back in 2012.

While it’s expected that officials will present evidence at the hearing that Woods’ is still not a reformed character and should there for not be granted release, even the slightest of chances that he may walk free has opened old wounds for the victims of his terrifying 1976 plot.

Woods (center), now 67, was one of three Bay Area defendants in the case, which would later go on to become one of the most notorious and bizarre mass kidnappings in US history James Schoenfeld shown left, Richard seen right)

Woods (center), now 67, was one of three Bay Area defendants in the case, which would later go on to become one of the most notorious and bizarre mass kidnappings in US history James Schoenfeld shown left, Richard seen right)

James Schoenfeld

Richard Schoenfeld

His co-defendants, brothers Richard (right) and James Schoenfeld (left), were paroled in 2012 and 2015 respectively, but Woods has been denied supervised release 18 times - most recently in November -with the panel citing him to be a troublesome inmate

On July 15, 1976, a group of 26 children attending summer classes at Dairyland Elementary School were returning from a trip to a local swimming pool when their bus, driven by Frank Edward Ray, was blocked on the road by three armed men and two white vans at 4:00pm.

Inspired by the iconic 1971 Clint Eastwood film Dirty Harry, Woods - with pantyhose pulled over his head and a gun drawn - was first to board the bus, ordering Ray to ‘Shut up and get to the back’, as victim Larry Park recalled for CBS.

Along with Ray, the children, aged between five and 14, were loaded into the two vans and driven around for 11 hours, during which time the hungry, petrified children soiled themselves and clung onto each other in fear.

Victim Jennifer Brown Hyde, who was nine at the time, said she ‘felt like and animal going to the slaughterhouse.’ Similarly, Larry Park remembers sitting in the darkness wondering ‘how it was going to feel to die’.

The older children among the group attempted to sing songs to offer comfort to the youngest, opting for renditions of ‘Boogie Nights’, ‘Love Will Keep Us Together’ and ‘If You're Happy and You Know it Clap Your Hands.’

All sing-a-longs came to a sobering halt however when the vans eventually stopped at a quarry near Livermore, where the captors forced Ray and the children down into a buried trailer stocked with mattresses, a small amount of food and water, and ventilation fans.

On July 15, 1976, a group of 26 children attending summer classes at Dairyland Elementary School were returning from a trip to a local swimming pool when their bus, driven by Frank Edward Ray, was blocked on the road by three armed men and a white van at 4:00pm (survivors pictured with Frank Edward Ray)

On July 15, 1976, a group of 26 children attending summer classes at Dairyland Elementary School were returning from a trip to a local swimming pool when their bus, driven by Frank Edward Ray, was blocked on the road by three armed men and a white van at 4:00pm (survivors pictured with Frank Edward Ray)

Dirty Harry: The kidnappers were inspired by the 1971 film Clint Eastwood film Dirty Harry in which the antagonist kidnaps a school bus for ransom

Dirty Harry: The kidnappers were inspired by the 1971 film Clint Eastwood film Dirty Harry in which the antagonist kidnaps a school bus for ransom

The captors forced Ray and the children down into a buried trailer stocked with mattresses, a small amount of food and water, and ventilation fans

The captors forced Ray and the children down into a buried trailer stocked with mattresses, a small amount of food and water, and ventilation fans 

The kidnappers made each of the children given their names and hand over a piece of clothing, and then climb down a ladder into the buried moving van, 12-feet below the ground.

When the last of the children was inside, Woods and the Schoenfeld brothers began shoveling dirt over the roof, weighing down the hatch-door by placing two 100-pound industrial batteries on top.

The children started screaming. One even fainted. Despite trying to comfort the group, Ray himself was reduced to tears, convinced the roof of the truck was going to cave in any minute.

‘I remember children just screaming and crying,’ Park told CBS. ‘The sides of the van were bowing in… I knew that I was going to die. I knew it.’

The kidnappers, all from wealthy Bay Area families, planned to ask for a $5 million ransom for their hostages.

But their plot, which had been 18-months in the making, unraveled when they took a nap, leaving the students and bus driver a short window in which to secure their escape.

One of the eldest children, Mitchell Marshall, announced to the group that he hasn’t going to die without putting up a fight. 

The kidnappers made each of the children given their names and a piece of clothing, and then climb down a ladder into the buried moving van, 12-feet below the ground.

The kidnappers made each of the children given their names and a piece of clothing, and then climb down a ladder into the buried moving van, 12-feet

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