Psychic Trauma in Children

Observations Following the Chowchilla School-Bus Kidnapping
  • Lenore C. Terr
Part of the The Springer Series on Stress and Coping book series (SSSO)


The Chowchilla school-bus kidnapping commanded international attention. All 26 children (age range, 5–14 years) who enrolled in the Alview Dairyland summer school disappeared for 27 hours, and they eventually escaped from their captors. After their return the children disclosed that their school bus had been stopped by a van blocking the road, three masked men had taken over the bus at gunpoint, and they had been transferred to two blackened, boarded-over vans in which they were driven about for 11 hours. They were then transferred into a “hole” (actually a buried truck trailer), and the kidnappers covered the truck trailer with earth. The children were buried in the hole for 16 hours until 2 of the oldest and strongest boys (ages 10 and 14 years) dug them out. By then the kidnappers had left the vicinity.


Child Victim Exact Repetition Psychic Trauma Traumatic Disruption Complete Psychological Work 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lenore C. Terr
    • 1
  1. 1.San FranciscoUSA

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