Decades Later, 26 Children Who Were Kidnapped And Buried Alive Are Still Searching For Answers

On the sunny afternoon of July 15, 1976, the children of Dairyland Elementary School were happy and carefree.

It was the second-last day of summer school, and the children were being bussed home after a field trip to the local swimming pool. The 26 children on the bus, school kids ranging from 5 to 14 years old, had no idea the tragic twist of fate waiting in store for them.

Some of the children from the bus, along with driver Edward Ray.AP

When the bus turned onto a narrow street, driver Frank Edward “Ed” Ray noticed a van parked in the middle of the road. The vehicle’s hood was up, and it seemed like a man was trying to fix it.

One of the students on the bus, Lynda Carrejo Labendeira, describes Ray as “gentleman farmer,” who parked in the road to try and help the man.

“And as quick as his words were coming out, they jumped on the bus with their guns pointed at us,” she remembers. “And the rifle. And told Edward to go to the back of the bus.”

The school bus, stashed in a ravine.AP

The masked gunmen drove the bus off the road, into a small, sheltered ravine where a pair of vans were waiting.

The children and Ray were packed inside the vans. The vehicles were dark inside, with no windows or air conditioning. The group was driven for 11 hours straight, without any water in the sweltering heat, or any idea where they were headed.

The quarry where the hostages were taken.Ed Ray

Later, police learned the kidnapped children had been taken on a roundabout route from Chowchilla, California to nearby Livermore. The slow trip was probably meant to kill time, so it would be dark when the vans reached their destination.

The group was finally let out of the van at a secluded gravel quarry. There, the kidnappers took each child’s name, home address, and telephone number, along with a piece of their clothing or a personal object.

Despite being peppered with questions by Ray and the children, the kidnappers never explained why the children had been taken.

“I only recall them ever telling us to shut up and be quiet,” Labendeira remembers.

FBI agents and police dig at the location where the children were buried.AP

Finally, the children were led across the quarry to a strange pile of dirt with a ladder descending down into darkness.

That’s when the group was ordered to crawl inside, and the real terror began.

Little Girl Was Heartbroken Over Her Dognapped Puppy, But The Thieves Had A Change Of Heart

Ryan Hood and his wife Elena Sardi were living every parent’s worst nightmare when they discovered their home had been broken into.

Elena and her daughter Maia were just returning home from a doctor’s appointment when they discovered their house had been burgled. A team of thieves managed to steal the family’s iPad, a laptop, and some of Elena’s jewelry. But, shockingly, they had also taken the family’s pet dog.

Sasha had only been with the family for a week before she was stolen.Victoria Police

Sasha, an eight-week-old Labrador, had only been living with the family for a week when she was dognapped. She had been sleeping in the family’s backyard during the home invasion and was apparently taken by the thieves. While the entire family said they were “heartbroken,” four-year-old Maia took the news the hardest.

Maia was “devastated” to learn Sasha had been dognapped.ABC News

“She’s an only child and the only addition to the family would be a pet and we picked the dog, we picked Sasha and Sasha picked us,” Ryan explained. Soon the pet theft was national news in Australia, and Maia’s parents pleaded on TV for little Sasha to found safe and sound.

The family pleaded on TV for Sasha to be returned.ABC News

The family also worried about Sasha’s safety, since she has a serious medical condition and isn’t supposed to interact with other dogs.

“I don’t care about the rest but the dog, we want her home as soon as possible,” Elena said. Luckily, someone out there was listening to her.

94-Year-Old Abducted Woman Frees Herself From Kidnapper’s Trunk

It’s not easy to gauge how your reaction would be to a kidnapping.

Imagine someone barges into your home and drags you into the trunk of a car. What would be your first reaction? Would you fight, think of a plan to escape, or would you freeze in terror?

Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky to escape such a frightful fate. Some are unable to free from their captors and others don’t have the chance to escape until decades later.

Early Tuesday, a man described to be in his 30s forced his way into a 94-year-old woman’s home in Scottsdale, Phoenix.

What happened next unfolded like a Hollywood movie.

12 Years Ago A Missing Hiker Was Declared Dead, But He Was Actually Kidnapped To Teach Kim Jong Un

The family of a missing college student say they believe he was abducted and taken to North Korea.

Sneddon was hiking in China when he vanished.Omaha.com

When David Sneddon vanished in China in 2004, his family was told he had fallen into a gorge while hiking. Almost immediately, Sneddon’s parents started to question the official story. Their son’s body was never found, and the more questions they asked about his disappearance the more conflicting answers they received.

Now, 12 years on, they believe he may have been kidnapped and taken to North Korea. Sneddon, a 24-year-old college student, had worked as a missionary in South Korea and spoke Korean fluently. That’s why Sneddon’s parents suspect he was taken to North Korea: to teach English.

A trip along the hiking trail in China where Sneddon vanished only strengthened their belief that he was alive. A guide recognized Sneddon’s picture, and said he survived the trail. Others remembered meeting Sneddon after he finished his hiking trip. The family also insists that Sneddon, an experienced hiker, would have had no trouble.

Now, sightings of Sneddon living in North Korea have given his family hope that they can be reunited…

Police Reveal That They Are Closing In On New Leads In Madeleine McCann’s Disappearance

The Home Office has given the Metropolitan Police £154,000 ($206,000 USD) to extend their search for Madeleine McCann.

The little girl was just three-years-old when she disappeared on May 3, 2007 from the family’s holiday apartment in Portugal.

When the investigation began in 2011, there were 29 detectives working on the case, but in 2015 that was cut down to just four.

Madeleine McCann’s parents, Kate McCann and Gerry McCann.Daily Star