More than two years ago CBS47 sat down with Larry Park on the same bus he was kidnapped from. A very emotional and painful interview as he relived what happened. But today he learns one of his kidnappers; Richard Schoenfeld is a free man. But the pain is gone, he's a different person.
"Forgiveness has to rule, we have to forgive," said Park.
It was the summer of 1976 when three masked gunman hijacked a school bus with 26-children including the bus driver Ed Ray. They were forced in an underground chamber and to many of the victims they were left to die. Ed Bates was sheriff at the time.
"They could have died cause the battery that was providing air shaft to these kids died and if they hadn't gotten out of there they would have suffocated to death, all of them," said Bates.
It was the bus driver and a few other children who escaped and led everyone to safety. And it was Ed Bates who led the investigation in catching the kidnappers. For 36-years Schoenfeld has been sitting in prison, his attorney talked to us by phone after Schoenfeld was released.
"I'm overjoyed that Rick is free, and I certainly think their decision was somewhat overdue. I think he should have been released no later than when he was found suitable for parole in 2008," said Scott Handleman, Schoenfeld's attorney.
It's right now though that one of Schoenfeld's victims is okay knowing one of his kidnappers is back out there a free man.
"I want him to live, I want him to have his chance, he gets one chance and I want him to have it," said Park.
Schoenfeld will be on parole for three years, his attorney assures the public he is not a threat to society. As for the other two kidnappers, they remain in prison.