It seemed like a normal school day as 26 children and the bus driver made their way made their way back from school in Chowchilla, California. However for the bus driver and children, July 15, 1976 turned into a nightmare very quickly.

The small farming town of Chowchilla launched into national headlines after the children and bus driver were kidnapped, driven around in two vans for 11 hours before being forced into a hole in the ground of a quarry containing another buried van – ostensibly meant to be their mass grave.  

Stuck in the darkness and under the weight of a metal lid and two 100-pound industrial batteries, bus driver, Ed Ray, along with some of the children were able to pry themselves out of the submerged van after 16 hours of hard labor.

After Ray remembered the license plate number of one of the vans, authorities were able to track down the son of the quarry owner and his two friends, who were eventually found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

Now Fox Files is delving back into the case that gripped the nation, with exclusive interviews and insight into one of America’s most shocking crimes.

Fox Files airs tonight at 10PM and again on Sunday at 9PM.

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