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Richard Allen Schoenfeld, Infamous California Bus Kidnapper, Released From Prison (PHOTOS)

Richard Allen Schoenfeld

First Posted: 06/21/2012 4:13 pm Updated: 06/22/2012 6:49 pm

CHOWCHILLA, Calif. — One of three men who kidnapped a busload of California school children has been released from prison after more than 35 years behind bars.

State prison officials said Thursday that Richard Allen Schoenfeld was released on parole to an undisclosed location late Wednesday. He will be monitored 24 hours a day with a GPS device.

An appeals court ordered his release earlier this year, ruling that the Board of Parole Hearings unfairly set his parole date for 2021 even though it concluded he wasn't a threat to society.

Schoenfeld and two others were convicted in the 1976 kidnapping. Their captives – students from Chowchilla and their bus driver – managed to escape when the kidnappers decided to take a nap before calling in their ransom demand.

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  • CHOWCHILLA

    FILE - In this July 17, 1976 file photo. members of the Alameda County Crime Lab and FBI are pictured working around the opening to the van where 26 Chowchilla school children and their bus driver were held captive at a rock quarry near Livermore, Calif. Ed Ray, the school bus driver hailed as a hero for helping 26 students escape after three men kidnapped the group and buried the entire bus underground in 1976 died on Thursday, May 17, 2012. He was 91. (AP Photo)

  • FILE - 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. Ray, the school bus driver hailed as a hero for helping 26 students escape after three men kidnapped the group and buried the entire bus underground in 1976 died on Thursday, May 17, 2012. He was 91. (AP Photo, File)

  • CHOWCHILLA ED RAY

    FILE - In this Sept. 13, 1976 file photo, bus driver Ed Ray, who was kidnapped with 26 school children from Chowchilla, waits for a passenger as school starts for the fall term. Ray, the school bus driver hailed as a hero for helping 26 students escape after three men kidnapped the group and buried the entire bus underground in 1976 died on Thursday, May 17, 2012. He was 91.(AP Photo)

  • FILE - In this July 17, 1976 file photo, school bus driver Ed Ray Jr. steps from the bus that returned him and 26 school children home to Chowchilla, Calif., after the were kidnapped by three men. Ray, the school bus driver hailed as a hero for helping 26 students escape after three men kidnapped the group and buried the entire bus underground in 1976 died on Thursday, May 17, 2012. He was 91. (AP Photo)

  • FILE - 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. Ray, the school bus driver hailed as a hero for helping 26 students escape after three men kidnapped the group and buried the entire bus underground in 1976 died on Thursday, May 17, 2012. He was 91. (AP Photo, File)

  • FILE - 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 . Photographers were not allowed inside the van, but were allowed to shoot pictures after the van doors were opened. Ed Ray, the school bus driver hailed as a hero for helping 26 students escape after three men kidnapped the group and buried the entire bus underground in 1976 died on Thursday, May 17, 2012. He was 91. (AP Photo/James Palmer)

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Filed by Carly Schwartz  |