’48 Hours Chowchilla Kidnapping’: Also Watch Movies ‘Vanished Without A Trace,’ & ‘They’ve Taken Our Children’

48 hours-the-chowchilla-kidnapping-live-to-tell

Chowchilla Kidnapping 48 Hours—The 1976 Chowchilla Kidnapping story makes its rounds on CBS 48 Hours this weekend in the episode titled: “Live to Tell: The Chowchilla Kidnapping.” It’s a look back at the story of 26 child bus riders who were abducted and buried under a rock quarry in Livermore, California before finally escaping. The disturbing true-crime also inspired a made-for-TV-movie.

No one was murdered. But many of the 26 victims have had a hard time forgetting the troubling ordeal and moving on with their lives. Viewers will hear tearful commentary from Larry Park, who remembers being carried out of the bus and safely put into his mother’s arms. Michael Marshall, the 14-year-old who helped save the kids, will also recount his story.


Posted by The Fly On The Wall on Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Kidnapper Fred Woods, along with friends, Richard and James Schoenfeld, created what they thought was the perfect plan to obtain millions—to steal a bus full of children and demand ransom money. The plan didn’t work, and by the time the men awoke from a nap, television news stations around the country were reporting on the children’s’ daring escape.


A park in Chowchilla is being dedicated this afternoon in the memory of Ed Ray. He is the bus driver that helped a…

Posted by CBS47 Fresno on Thursday, February 26, 2015

Police focused on the son of the man who owned the rock quarry, Fred Woods. And a search of his father’s estate held a wealth of evidence, including a draft of a ransom note they never delivered and detailed plans of how they’d carry out the crime.

Today, The Schoenfelds are out of prison, 48 Hours will reveal. They were released on parole for good behavior. Fred Woods has been denied 17 times because he cannot follow prison rules. Prison officials discovered that Fred Woods used a cell phone to run a Christmas tree farm business from prison without permission. More than four decades later, Fred Woods is still a dangerous and cunning man.



[image via Facebook]

In addition to 48 Hours, the Chowchilla bus kidnapping also inspired the movie Vanished Without a Trace, also known as They’ve Taken Our Children: The Chowchilla Kidnapping. Originally airing on March 1, 1993, the movie’s direction came from Vern Gillum.

  • The teleplay was written by David Eyre Jr. and based on the true-crime book by Jefferson Morgan and Jack Baugh. It starred Karl Malden as Ed Ray, Tim Ransom as Fred Woods, Travis Fine as Rick Schoenfeld, and Tom Hodges as Jim Schoenfeld.


Infamous Kidnappings Throughout History: The 1976 Chowchilla school bus kidnappingJuly 15, 1976, three men in their…

Posted by My Publicist on Friday, May 25, 2018


Watch 48 HoursLive To Tell: The Chowchilla Kidnapping” on CBS this Saturday at 10/9 p.m.

The Trailer for 48 Hours: The Chowchilla Kidnapping

[Main image courtesy of California Dept. of Corrections Mugshots]

Traciy Curry-Reyes

Traciy Curry-Reyes is the founder and editor-in-chief of TV Crime Sky. She began her career as a true crime & entertainment freelance writer in the 1990's for her website, The Movies Based on True Stories Database/Archives. She has contributed content to other websites, such as Examiner.com and Inquisitr.com. Traciy also appears as a true-crime expert and commentator on TV One's Fatal Attraction, For My Man, and Justice by Any Means; Investigation Discovery's Murder Calls and Scorned; Oxygen's Snapped; FOX's Crime Watch Daily; and Lifetime Television's Killer Kids.