t was one of the largest kidnappings in U.S. history. A school bus with 26 children was stopped by three armed gunmen as they headed home from the Dairyland Elementary School in the small California town of Chowchilla. The men were wearing pantyhose over their faces.
“Where their eyes were, it was like, it almost looked hollow,” recalls survivor Larry Park, just 6 years old at the time. “It was like looking at death.”
The children and their school bus driver were transferred to vans and were driven for nearly 12 unbearable hours before being buried alive inside a truck trailer underground — held hostage in the dark for another 16 hours before they made a harrowing escape.
This week, as their convicted captor faced a parole board, some of the survivors of that 1976 kidnapping share their emotional, personal stories of bravery and helping each other survive the unknown.
I feel much better since I gave up hope.
"If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace." – John Lennon