Accomplice in Chowchilla kidnapping denied parole

November 28, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Convicted kidnapper Fred Woods, 61, was denied parole for another three years. It comes as a sigh of relief to many of the victims who argued this was a horrific crime and Woods hasn't spent enough time behind bars to be rehabilitated, but not all of the victims share the same opinion.

Larry Park was just 6 years old when he, his sister and 24 other school children were kidnapped at gunpoint by three masked men in Chowchilla, forced into a moving van and taken to a rock quarry in Livermore where they were buried alive for 16 horrifying hours.

"You know, it is traumatic," Park said. "I'm still not a big fan of the dark, although I don't find it necessary to sleep with a night light on anymore."

35 years later, his opinion of Fred Woods and his brothers Richard and James Shoenfeld, is in sharp contrast to the other victims still haunted by the images from that day.

"I am no longer going to the parole hearings to keep him in prison," Park said. "I'm not willing to advocate for his release, but I'm just done."

Done, while others fight to keep Woods in prison. Several weeks ago, a group of victims gathered at a warehouse where the school bus is now stored to bring attention to his scheduled hearing. They told us they're fearful of Woods being released on parole. Especially after Shoenfeld was let out this past June. Park says he's moved on.

Park said, "Whether they keep him or let him go, it doesn't matter anymore."

But admits he wasn't always that way.

"In 2010, I was sitting captive in my apartment afraid to leave it because I thought I was going to be a serial killer," Park said. "I had so much hatred in my heart, I didn't want to leave my apartment. That's not life, that's not living."

After being diagnosed with paranoid-schizophrenia two years ago -- he found god -- married and continues to go to therapy. He's also joined a group called Christ Recovery which helped him overcome years of drugs and alcohol abuse. And eventually find peace with what happened to him. He now hopes the others can do the same.

Park added, "I understand the victims that are still hurting from this, because I lived it for 35 years."


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