The three kidnappers, who were then in their 20s, came from affluent families and hatched the scheme to get $5 million in ransom money to help recoup losses from a failed real estate deal. The governor had until midnight to decide whether to send the case of 63-year-old James Schoenfeld back to the board that recommended his release for review.

One of three males who have been convicted of kidnapping 26 youngsters from a school bus and holding them captive in a buried trailer at a California quarry has been granted parole.

The governor chose not to act, which means the parole board’s decision will stand.

They were loaded into two vans and driven to a rock quarry in Livermore, where the vans were buried.

Eventually, the children piled mattresses to reach a trapdoor in the roof, from which they escaped while the kidnappers napped.

The Schoenfeld brothers and Woods received life sentences after pleading guilty in Alameda County Superior Court in 1977 to 27 counts of kidnapping for ransom.

James Schoenfeld is serving his sentence at California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo.

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman Luis Patina said the prison agency has up to five days to process the departure of an inmate who’s being paroled, but for security reasons it doesn’t disclose the exact time, date, or location of a parolee’s departure in advance.

She said: “They buried me alive, they stole my childhood and caused me huge emotional pain over the years”. The third man convicted, Fred Woods, has not yet been granted parole. The three convicts spent 18 months to devise a plan to kidnap the driver and all the children on a school bus.

The panel recommended parole for Richard Schoenfeld in 2011 and he was released from prison in June 2012.

If James Schoenfeld is released, he has said he will live with his mother and brother in Mountain View, CBS News reported.