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The vanishing: A mass kidnapping in California, 40 years later
The nation's attention was drawn to the central California dairy region in July 1976, when three young men from wealthy San Francisco Bay Area families kidnapped 26 children and their school bus driver. Some thought they must have been taken by space aliens, so completely did they vanish.
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FILE - This July 24, 1976 file photo shows the inside of the van that was used as a prison for the 26 kidnapped Chowchilla school children and their bus driver in Livermore, Calif. Nearly 40 years later the final convicted kidnapper, Fredrick Woods, is awaiting a parole hearing Nov. 19, 2015. Woods accomplices, brothers James and Richard Schoenfeld have already been paroled.(AP Photo/Jim Palmer, file)

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In this Friday, July 23, 1976 file photo, the inside of the van in which 26 Chowchilla, Calif., school children and their bus driver were held captive is seen in a Livermore, Calif., quarry. Nearly 40 years later the final convicted kidnapper, Fredrick Woods, is awaiting a parole hearing Nov. 19, 2015. Woods accomplices, brothers James and Richard Schoenfeld have already been paroled.(AP Photo/James Palmer, file)

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In this July 17, 1976 file photo, Darla Sue Daniels, 10, is carried by her father (name not available) from the police department after being reunited with her family in Chowchilla, Calif. Daniels was one of 26 school children, and their bus driver who were abducted and buried in a truck underground in 1976. Nearly 40 years later the final convicted kidnapper, Fredrick Woods, is awaiting a parole hearing Nov. 19, 2015. Woods accomplices, brothers James and Richard Schoenfeld have already been paroled. (AP Photo,file)

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In this July 20, 1976 file photo, officials remove a truck buried at a rock quarry in Livermore, Calif., in which 26 Chowchilla school children and their bus driver, Ed Ray were held captive. Nearly 40 years later the final convicted kidnapper, Fredrick Woods, is awaiting a parole hearing Nov. 19, 2015. Woods accomplices, brothers James and Richard Schoenfeld have already been paroled.(AP Photo/James Palmer, file)

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In this July 17, 1976 file photo, two Dairyland Union School District students, who were among the 26 school children, and their bus driver who were abducted and buried in a truck underground, walk to the family car clad in blankets after release and early morning arrival in Chowchilla, Calif. Nearly 40 years later the final convicted kidnapper, Fredrick Woods, is awaiting a parole hearing Nov. 19, 2015. Woods and his accomplices, brothers James and Richard Schoenfeld were convicted of kidnapping of the students and their bus driver near Chowchilla, Calif. (AP Photo, File)

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In this July 1976 file photo, Richard Schoenfeld leaves the Alameda County Jail in Oakland, Calif., to be taken to Chowchilla for arraignment in the kidnapping of 26 school children and their bus driver. Schoenfeld, his brother James and Fredrick Woods were convicted of the 1976 kidnapping of a Chowchilla school bus and buried the 26 children and driver in a truck underground in 1976. An appeals court ordered Richard Schoenfeld released in 2012 and California Gov. Jerry Brown paroled James Schoenfeld in Aug. 2015. The California Board of Parole Hearings is scheduled to meet Nov. 19, 2015 to decide whether if Woods should be paroled.(AP Photo, file)

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In this July 17, 1976 file photo parents and families of the Dairyland Union School District children and their bus driver who were kidnapped, wait anxiously inside the Chowchilla police station as the students unload from the chartered bus that returned them from Livermore where they were found. Nearly 40 years later the final kidnapper, Fredrick Woods, is awaiting a parole hearing Nov. 19, 2015. Woods and his accomplices, brothers James and Richard Schoenfeld were convicted of kidnapping 26 students and their bus driver near Chowchilla, Calif.(AP Photo)

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In this July 17, 1976 file photo, Dairyland school bus driver Frank "Ed" Ray Jr. steps from the bus that brought him and 26 school children home to Chowchilla, Calif., after they were found unharmed on Friday night. Nearly 40 years later the final convicted kidnapper, Fredrick Woods, is awaiting a parole hearing Nov. 19, 2015. Woods accomplices, brothers James and Richard Schoenfeld have already been paroled.(AP Photo/Jim Palmer, file)

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In this Aug. 4, 1976 file photo, James Schoenfeld is escorted by an Alameda County sheriff office sergeant while being moved from the Alameda County Jail in Oakland, Calif. Schoenfeld, along with his brother Richard and accomplice Fredrick Woods were convicted in the 1976 kidnapping of 26 school children and their bus driver. California Gov. Jerry Brown paroled Schoenfeld, 63, in August 2015 and his brother Richard was released in 2012. The California Board of Parole Hearings is scheduled to meet Nov. 19, 2015 to decide whether if Woods should be paroled. (AP Photo, file)

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In this July 17, 1976 file photo Frances Williams, left, whose daughter Lisa Barletta, 12, was among the children abducted from their school bus, is embraced by friend Barbara Kjostad after learning the children and driver were found unharmed in Chowchilla, Calif. Nearly 40 years later the final convicted kidnapper, Fredrick Woods, is awaiting a parole hearing Nov. 19, 2015. Woods accomplices, brothers James and Richard Schoenfeld have already been paroled. (AP Photo/Jim Palmer,file )

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In this July 20, 1976 file photo, officials remove a truck buried at a rock quarry in Livermore, Calif., in which 26 Chowchilla school children and their bus driver were held captive. Nearly 40 years later the final convicted kidnapper, Fredrick Woods, is awaiting a parole hearing Nov. 19, 2015. Woods accomplices, brothers James and Richard Schoenfeld have already been paroled.(AP Photo/file)

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In this July 18, 1976 file photo, Chowchilla church-goers give a prayer of thanks for the safe return of their 26 school children and bus driver, during a service at the Chowchilla Baptist Church, July 18, 1976. The children and driver were returned from their ordeal on Saturday morning from Livermore where they were found in a rock quarry. Nearly 40 years later the final convicted kidnapper, Fredrick Woods, is awaiting a parole hearing Nov. 19, 2015. Woods accomplices, brothers James and Richard Schoenfeld have already been paroled.(AP Photo/Jim Palmer, file)

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This is a June 12, 2012 photo released by the California Department of Corrections showing Richard Schoenfeld. Schoenfeld, his brother James Schoenfeld and accomplice Fredrick Woods were convicted in the kidnapping of 26 children and their school bus driver nearly 40 years ago in Chowchilla, Calif. An appeals court ordered Richard Schoenfeld released in 2012 and his brother James was paroled in August 2015. The California Board of Parole Hearings is scheduled to meet Nov. 19, 2015 to decide whether if Woods should be paroled. (California Department of Corrections via AP)

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This is a Jan. 12, 2012 photo released by the California Department of Corrections showing James Schoenfeld. Schoenfeld is one of three men convicted in the kidnapping of 26 children and their school bus driver nearly 40 years ago in Chowchilla, Calif. California Gov. Jerry Brown paroled Schoenfeld, 63, in August 2015, and his brother Richard was released in 2012. The California Board of Parole Hearings is scheduled to meet Nov. 19, 2015 to decide whether if Fredrick Woods, the last of the three still in prison for the kidnapping should be paroled. California Department of Corrections via AP)

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This is a Nov. 9, 2015, photo released by the California Department of Corrections, showing Fredrick Woods. Woods is one of three men convicted in the kidnapping of 26 children and their school bus driver nearly 40 years ago in Chowchilla, Calif. The California Board of Parole Hearings is scheduled to meet Nov. 19, 2015 to decide whether if Woods should be paroled. Woods' accomplices, brothers James and Richard Schoenfeld have already been paroled.(California Department of Corrections via AP)

The vanishing: A mass kidnapping in California, 40 years later

The nation's attention was drawn to the central California dairy region in July 1976, when three young men from wealthy San Francisco Bay Area families kidnapped 26 children and their school bus driver. Some thought they must have been taken by space aliens, so completely did they vanish.

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