Jodi Heffington: How Did the Chowchilla Kidnapping Survivor Die?


While there’s no rejecting it was an outright wonder that each patient of the 1976 Chowchilla kidnapping had actually endured, the injury they after that required to live with was unfortunately just as distressing. After all, as discovered in CBS’ ’48 Hours: Remembering the Chowchilla Kidnapping,’ an university bus vehicle driver plus 26 young people had actually been taken and also held underground for 16 hrs previously than they took care of to run away. Amongst them was then-10-year-old Jodi Heffington– so currently, need to you wish to be shown additional regarding her, her experiences, along with her last fate, we have actually currently gotten each vital component for you.

Who Was Jodi Heffington?

Born on October 5, 1965, since the youngest of 3 to Nina Dixon and also Billy Joe Heffington, Nina Jo “Jodi” unquestionably had a cushty, delighted, caring childhood years along with her 2 senior bros. The family did move round instead a great deal throughout her very early years considering that Billy was within the Air Force, yet as quickly as he retired completely they generally chosen to peaceful down in Merced, California, she mored than the moon. But alas, the teenager’s joy of finally all the time being bordered by closed family like grandparents, aunties, uncles, along with relatives was swiftly eclipsed by the July 15, 1976, occurrence.

It was approximately 4 pm on the eventful day when Dairyland Elementary School’s main bus taking 26 young people, aged 5 to 14, residence from a summer season time trip to the Fairgrounds swimming pool was pirated. 10-year-old Jodi was resting correct there, so the image of a van stopping the road earlier than their peaceful yet kind bus vehicle driver, Frank Edward “Ed” Ray, was challenged gotten seared correct right into her mind. “Then this man came up with a stocking over his head with a gun and said ‘open the door,’” she openly remembered within the ’48 Hours’ making earlier than consisting of, “I had never been around guns.”

Jodi proceeded, “You only see bad guys in the movies with stockings on, so I knew it wasn’t good,” nonetheless she may’ve never envisioned the weapon would swiftly be sharp correct at her abdominal area. She therefore really assumed the 3 men had actually been mosting likely to eliminate each solitary thought about among them, especially as they would certainly separated the team right into 2 vans earlier than taking them to a quarry complying with an 11-hour drive. The fact the triad after that took their sufferers out of the vehicle one after the various other frightened her a lot more– she had no principle they had actually remained in Livermore, the location they ‘d mainly be hidden to life in an area vehicle.

“They’d take the next kid out,” Jodi claimed within the episode. “And they would close the doors. But when they opened the doors, you don’t see them. I thought they were basically killing us one at a time.” However, the fact is the kidnappers had actually been just pushing every of the 27 individuals right into the below ground eighteen-wheeler within the rock quarry within the hopes of getting a significant ransom money for his/her return. Thankfully, although, despite the dreadful situations along with stress, the sufferers had actually can job jointly and also by hand dig their methods out– they had actually been all totally free after almost 16 hrs of their prison.

The authorities after that got here on the scene as quickly as manageable, yet they really did not thrill the survivors to their houses, the health center, or a consider cool down and also training course of specifically what had actually taken place. Instead, they loaded every one of them on a bus and also took them on an area prison– the one location nearby completely large to bring them– for examining that lasted an added 4 or 5 hrs. The criminals had actually been consequently identified, detained, and also founded guilty, nonetheless absolutely nothing was ever before the similar for several that truly passed methods of the experience, considerably as there had not been a great deal regard to emotional well being once more after that.

Image Credit: George Osterkamp/ CBS News

“How that day affected me? [It] has affected me every day in some way or another,” Jodi yielded within the CBS one-of-a-kind, suggesting she invested the complying with a long period of time battling to seek tranquility. “I think it made me not a good daughter, not a good sister, not a good aunt, and especially not a good mother… I try to be those things. But it seems like, it just took something from me that I can’t ever get back. And I can’t tear down … no matter how hard I try and no matter what I do.” Though the one variable she did take care of to do was be the voice for each and every patient every single time their criminals had actually been up for parole– yet by 2022, all 3 of them had actually been given very early launch below guidance.

How Did Jodi Heffington Die?

In the a long period of time for the factor that kidnapping, Jodi truly expanded to come to be worried within the United Methodist Church, found her ardour in raising pigs on the family ranch for displays, and also created right into a cosmetologist. She furthermore found the which indicates of actual love, enjoyment, and also enjoyment as quickly as she had her kid Matthew, that has actually acquired her quick wit, base humorousness, pleasurable spirit, and also ability to make others grunt. But alas, earlier than she may really move on from the previous, Nina Jo “Jodi” Heffington-Medrano unfortunately handed away on January 30, 2021– the 55-year-old’s specific description for death has never been exposed, making us consider it was pure.

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