Chowchilla kidnapper, on parole, living in Mountain View

One of the three men convicted of kidnapping a bus full of children in Chowchilla, California, in 1976 is now on parole and living in Mountain View, police said.

Richard Schoenfeld, 57, of Atherton, after being released this month from his nearly 36-year stint in prison, has been "transported to Mountain View, where he will reside in an undisclosed location," according to Liz Wylie, a spokeswoman with the Mountain View Police Department.

Richard Schoenfeld, along with his older brother John Schoenfeld and Fred Woods of Portola Valley, pleaded guilty in 1976 to kidnapping 26 Chowchilla schoolchildren and their bus driver and keeping them in a quarry in Livermore, from which they all escaped on their own without injury.

The men were sentenced to life in prison. John Schoenfeld and Woods have not yet been found suitable for parole.

Though he is a "high-profile parolee due to the notoriety of his crime, Richard Schoenfeld is not considered a high-risk offender by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation," Wylie said in her statement.

He must wear a GPS monitor 24 hours a day as a condition of his parole.

"The State and the courts have determined Schoenfeld no longer poses a threat to society," Mountain View Mayor Mayor Mike Kasperzak said in a press release. "I am confident of our police department and know they will appropriately monitor him to ensure the safety of our community."

The police were aware of the transfer for some time before it occurred, Wylie said.

His exact location will not be given out by police, she said. His parole is scheduled to last three years.


Posted by job, a resident of another community
on Jun 22, 2012 at 7:44 pm

I hear that the Portola Valley school superintendent job is open.

Posted by Mr Advice, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 22, 2012 at 7:46 pm

He could get a job as a school bus driver?

Posted by Mark, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 22, 2012 at 8:30 pm

I don't CARE if he is "... no longer a threat to society." ... he was in prison for what he DID, NOT what he MIGHT do, and based on what he DID, he should NEVER again be allowed to live in civilized society ... had it not been for the heroic bus driver who tunneled his way out of the buried school bus, the bus driver and the children ALL would have DIED. I live in Mountain View -- any chance we can get a photo of this pillar-of-society, this reformed, repentent child kidnapper(repentent that he got CAUGHT, NOT repentent about how he traumatized and would have MURDERED a bus full of innocent children)??? It would be nice to know if that guy sitting next to me at Starbucks is a convicted kidnapper ...

Posted by Nick, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 22, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Mark -- just Google for "Richard Schoenfeld" and you can easily find a recent mug shot.

Posted by MV Resident, a resident of Jackson Park
on Jun 22, 2012 at 11:47 pm

Based on the TV truck location this afternoon and subsequent local news broadcast, it appears this guy is living in the Whisman area, at the condo complex at the corner of Moffett Boulevard and West Middlefield Road (across the street from the Valero gas station, which -- while blurry -- was recognizable in the KNTV-11 footage).

Thanks to Mountain View's pride-and-joy/big employer Google (and some other popular search tools like it was pretty easy to identify what appears to be the relative's name, full street address (including unit number) and home telephone number.

If you use the Stevens Creek Trail, it would be wise to do that Google image search of the guy, as the trail runs right by this complex. There are already too many unsavory types around this stretch of the trail; trail users should be familiar with this person's appearance.

Posted by Mr. DePortum, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 23, 2012 at 9:16 am

He paid for his crime over and over, if he breaks parole and has to go back to prison we should buy him a leather thong with a vasoline holder.

Posted by Old Ben, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 23, 2012 at 9:55 am

I'm a lot more concerned about the unindicted banksters in our midst.

Posted by Kt, a resident of The Crossings
on Jun 23, 2012 at 10:02 am

Yeah and Jaycee Lee Duggards captor, Phillip Garrido , was also on parole when he kidnapped and kept her confined for how many years? Why? Why, when we hear about all of these repeat offenders over and over and their sick tendencies, do we still let these animals free? Well, at least we know if kids start coming up missing where they are..... Or who has taken them. Parents, keep your kids close.

Posted by resident59, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm

The public should be given the information regarding where this felon is residing. You know that all police, their families and friends, and the whole Mountain View city council know this guy's location. There is no reason not to let everyone else know also. Sex offenders' locations are readily available. Why not every ex-felon?

Posted by sean, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm

sean is a registered user.

resident59 go to type in scgoenfeld and enter 94041 as the zip click on Merry's name and you can see all the info including the phone number.

Posted by Bart, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 24, 2012 at 8:03 am

Why does Mountain View get all of Palo Alto nannies, dishwashers, housemaids, restaurant staff, and now paroled kidnapers?

Posted by Otto Maddox, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 24, 2012 at 10:40 pm


Leave the guy alone. He was clearly an idiot in his youth. That kidnapping "plot" was doomed for fail from the start.

This guy is hardly a super criminal waiting for another chance to take revenge.

Posted by Waldo, a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 25, 2012 at 8:36 am

To all previous posters who suggested that people look up Schoenfled's phone number: I know his mother, and she is a very sweet elderly woman who has lived in Mountain View for many years and absolutely doesn't deserve to be harassed because of her son's previous behavior. She had nothing to do with his crime, wouldn't hurt a soul, and has gone through more than enough already.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Cuernavaca
on Jun 25, 2012 at 10:50 am

This man should give his mother some peace and not come crawling back home with his baggage of bad life choices. I would never bother him or his mother, but I would like to know his whereabouts and appearance so that I can keep a wide distance.

Posted by MV Resident, a resident of Jackson Park
on Jun 25, 2012 at 11:28 am


The information was not provided to enable harassing this lady.

It was provided to inform Mountain View residents of the whereabouts of this person. The state believes that he has paid his debt to society and stated that he is "low-risk" in terms of his likeliness to repeat his crime or commit others.

Whatever anguish/grief this guy has caused for his family, his mother is probably doing society a favor by accepting him back into her home. I hope the state officials and the city of Mountain View periodically check in with her to ensure that she is doing well.

Posted by Observer, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 25, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Ask yourself how you would feel as a child if a complete stranger locked you up in a steel cargo container and buried you underground? You have no idea if you will live or die. This guy should be locked up for life. His crime is so beyond the pale of anything I can imagine. And after 35 years in prison I doubt he's much of a human being.

Posted by Waldo, a resident of North Whisman
on Jun 25, 2012 at 2:25 pm

@MV Resident I understand why you posted info about his whereabouts and respect the fact that you had the best intentions in doing so. It just worries me that there might be weekend vigilantes out there who don't possess the same degree of foresight as you, and might take the law into their own hands.

Posted by kathy, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 25, 2012 at 3:07 pm

I am glad that the location was posted. If I lived in that area, especially with a child I would be cautious. Many criminals have paid their dues only to re-offend as soon as they can. And this guy was not a run of the mill criminal, stealing cars or dealing drugs, he was involved in a heinous crime that took a great deal of planning to carry out. I would not want to be anywhere near this guy.

Posted by Viejo, a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 25, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Trust me, there are a lot worse criminals sitting next to you in Starbucks or wherever. After the fat lady sang, nobody was dead, the bus driver was a hero, the kids went home and the bad guys went to jail. It was a poorly planned and badly executed crime. There a lot of worse clowns out on the street willing to do a lot more heinous mayhem to anyone who runs into them, for no apparent reason. If you don't believe that, you're one of the sheeple who they prey upon.
At least you know where this one is and what he looks like...

Posted by S. L., a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jun 26, 2012 at 8:09 pm

S. L. is a registered user.

Funny, I must have missed Richard Schoenfeld's public apology for his crime.....

Posted by Viejo, a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm

And he didn't spend ANY time in the Public Stocks on the Common Green!

Posted by erika m, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 30, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Why did you jackassess delete my last comment? All I said was that there was a job opening for him and to leave him alone! He's done his time and should be rehab by the system by now. Helloooooooo, is the editor in chief listening???? What happen to free speech? I AM entitled just like everyone else on this site to have an opinon, you are in violation of my 1st admendment rights

Posted by Observer, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 30, 2012 at 1:31 pm

erika m:

Welcome to censorship and liberal bias by the Voice editors who will also support the official line and never question authority. Yes, that should scare you.

As for the parolee, why don't we throw him a welcome party?

Posted by nicola, a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 3, 2012 at 12:15 pm

I'm glad to know the area he lives and what he looks like. There are a ton of parks in the area we frequent daily, not to mention the trail. Thank you to whoever posted that he lives near the valero station.

Posted by Julie, a resident of another community
on Jul 5, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Similar to Waldo, I also know the mother. She indeed has been through a lot in all of this, through 36 years of trying to cope with extremely bad decisions made by people that she loves. Keep in mind that her son was 21 at the time and was influenced by an older brother and friend. He is not a repeat offender. He did one very horrible thing 36 years ago and has been in prison ever since. To anticipate that he can't wait to do it all over again and is on the look out for other innocents to harm, I don't believe, is part of this reality.

I am sure that he continues to live with the terror and anguish he caused these children and their families on a daily basis. As far as a public apology is concerned; he doesn't owe the public an apology. He owes the families the apologies, which I am sure he has done numerous times over the past 36 years. But to know whether or not he has issued a public apology, one would have to do research, which I am guessing has not yet been done.

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