And if I had been a little less of a jokester I may have seen something in that strange light. Then when I became a deputy, Sheriff Stark says, "You know, we're going to start finding a bunch of old explosives, dynamite and things. I was later told that everybody had been taken to different hospitals, ambulance services from all over, from Utah, from Idaho, from Wyoming was transporting people all over the place and there was only two fatalities. I believe there was a hundred-and-sixty-plus people involved that was being held. Have there been any lingering psychological effects from going through something so traumatic while so young? David and Doris both returned to Cokeville on May 16, 1986. Mark Junge: And what happened? Mark Junge: EOD. He had just big rings of perspiration. Certified Bomb Technician. Mark Junge: Why do you think that God chose Cokeville to save? Rich Haskell: You walk into the door, and I don't know if you got to go into the classroom, but you walk into that door and it opens up into the whole thing. I certainly enjoy my grandkids a lot more. Students, teachers, visitors, staff who survived the ordeal and bystanders began recounting their memories of this event as it was still unfolding. Rich Haskell: Well, you know, that's a really good question. And that's what we in this country have that these other fanatics or whatever is the family is the import factor. TC is one of my heroes. Rich Haskell: It's a combustible. Shortly after their wedding, David and Doris left Cokeville and headed to Tucson, Ariz. During their time in Tucson, according to Doris daughter Bernie Petersen, David became increasingly reclusive, focusing on his philosophical readings and writings. I actually created a website knowing that people would wonder what was real and what wasn't. I saw an early screening of the film and absolutely loved it. On May 16, 1986, . She was a total torch! Have you seen the Unsolved Mysteries episode that had a segment on this? I have no doubt about my friends witness testimonies - even though I saw or heard nothing such as they did. I contacted my sheriff, and that was Jim Stark at the time, and he said, "Definitely! Parentheses ( ) are used for incidental non-verbal sounds, like laughter. He did it right. Did you see anything? Mark Junge: Do you think David or Doris would have cut it? But he knew the culture, he knew the type of people, and I'm not sayin' that Mormon people are better than anybody else, but their way of life is family is first. Of what you would picture an angel, with the wings and, Mark Junge: Well, if I'm a skeptic, I could say, "Well, that's just the way the flames shot up.". This significantly mitigated the explosive power of the bomb. Totally destroyed it! How has that experience shaped your life? On May 16, 1986, when former town marshal David Gary Young and his wife Doris Young took 154 children and thirteen teachers hostage at Cokeville Elementary school in Wyoming and kept them at bay with a shopping-cart sized bomb attached to five hairpin-trigger blast caps, it should have ended in great tragedy - one of the worst in American history. This allowed gasoline to drip into the tuna fish cans, turning the aluminum-flour mixture into paste, unable to aerosolize. You know, the kids have forgot about it, let's let 'em move on. But everything was black, like you had gone in there with a flamethrower and just torched everything inside there. Although many were burned, some severely, only the perpetrators of this horrible incident died. Although many were burned, some severely, only the perpetrators of this horrible incident died. The Wyoming History one may be the best. Read more Cokeville officially has only536 people in it and two LDS wards that meet in the same chapel. [4], Prior to the hostage crisis, David had tested a similar bomb in a sealed school bus in Arizona, destroying it.[5]. Mark Junge: And that's the lesson we learn. Well, when I arrived at Cokeville, of course they had the roads all blocked off and there was not a lot of people around the school at the time. Rich Haskell: You know, with 33 years of law enforcement, I've seen a lot of things. Cokeville had so little crime that many folks didn't bother to lock their doors. Some of the children just sat right all around and just watched him. And the bathroom was off to the side of it because it was the kindergarten class. Can you describe this? Mark Junge: You'd been tested, though. TC, I think, saw it the same way. First grade teacher Janel Dayton on the 1986 bombing of Cokeville Elementary School Published: November 8, 2014 Janel Dayton, Wyoming State Archives photo. If I deleted an entire phrase, I have inserted ellipses . He listened so well, so patiently. I was literally blown out the door when the bomb went off , and i remember how time slowed down in those seconds. Of course, I can imagine the noise that it made. Cokeville Elementary School hostage crisis, "Radical Right Link Suggested in Hostage Case", "Cokeville Elementary School Bombing |", "Couple take over school but die after bomb blast", "Couple in School Blast Linked to Extremist Group", "Certified Bomb Technician Rich Haskell on the 1986 Bombing of Cokeville Elementary School |", "Lead Investigator Ron Hartley, Father of Four Student Survivors, on the 1986 Bombing of Cokeville Elementary School |", "Secretary Tina Cook on the 1986 Bombing of Cokeville Elementary School |", "A projectile killed Dorris Young, not bomb blast, police in Cokeville say", "In 1986, 154 children and teachers survived the bombing of Cokeville Elementary School", "Emergency Management Coordinator Kathy Davison on the 1986 Bombing of Cokeville Elementary School |", University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Liberty Point International Middle School, Central Visual and Performing Arts High School, "'No Way to Prevent This', Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens", List of school shootings in the United States by death toll,, Improvised explosive device bombings in the United States, Short description is different from Wikidata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0, This page was last edited on 15 February 2023, at 11:55. Just before implementing the Biggie, David Young had also sent a copy of the document to President Ronald Reagan, the president of Chadron State College and numerous media outlets. On May 16, 1986, an elementary school in the tiny town of Cokeville, Wyoming, was held hostage by a married couple with a bomb. You just do whatever you have to do and get up there." Contact us at for information on levels and types of available sponsorships. Rich Haskell: Well, after I arrived it took probably three to four hours to make sure everything was neutral and everything was not going to be a threat any longer. Mark Junge: Do you think you've taken more joy out of life because of it? Create an account to follow your favorite communities and start taking part in conversations. On May 16, 1986, former town marshal David Young and his wife Doris Young took 167 children and adults hostage at Cokeville Elementary School. What should people know going into the film? Where's he running? She was on fire! [7][5] The reason for the wire cuts are so far unexplained. Debbie Sparks and Steven Moore, both EMTs, discuss on May 9 the elementary school bombing. As I sat there and watched him, I could feel he was becoming agitated. I was a little bit nervous, of course. I didn't touch the body at all. I didn't look at the speedometer, I was just kind of watchin' for animals and everything else. David and Doris Young took 167 hostages (150 children, 17 adults and one unlucky UPS driver) at the elementary school. Rich Haskell: Were above the level of the kids, yeah. On one hand people didn't want money to be made off of suffering, but on the other hand it felt ungrateful to not share it in the way that TC would or could. Rich Haskell: There was also ayou look through the ceiling and there was a bigger hole up there. I think I made it there in record timeI'm not sure. The top basket contained a gallon milk jug of gasoline, wired with a blasting cap. A quarter of a century later, Williams can still vividly recall the chaotic scene following the explosion. On May 16, 1986, David Young, Cokeville's former town marshal, and his wife, Doris, carried five rifles, five handguns and a "dead man's bomb" into the elementary school. . After a two-and-a-half hour standoff, the children were becoming restless, so the teachers preoccupied the kids in the form of movies, games, prayer, and books. The Hartley story didn't come out publicly until my parents (who wrote the book in the year after the bombing) began asking questions about this kind of thing. Retro Report took a look back at this episode, with a focus on how Johnson & Johnson and . She has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals on the history and heritage of Germans from Russia on the Northern Plains. They messed with the kids and that brought a whole communityin fact, it brought the whole western half of the state all together. Don't go past this square. This wasn't a pipe bomb. I said, "What on earth happened there?" Rich Haskell: I don't think that they were planningor David was planning on the ceiling tiles in the school. where there's only a limited population, that's going to throw the fear of God into everybody. The bomb did detonate and fire, thick black smoke and toxi fumes filled the room. It has shaped me to know that God is real. I've been involved with law enforcement since 1977 in Sweetwater County. President Hinkley, President Monson, and President Faust. It became a story of a miracle rather than a tragedy. All the hostages escaped, though 79 were hospitalized with burns and injuries. ", All told, 79 of the hostages suffered injuries, mostly second-degree burns, smoke inhalation, and other injuries from the exploding bomb. On May 16, 1986, an elementary school in Cokeville, Wyoming, was held hostage by a couple with a bomb. He had been aware of above-average achievement scores from Cokeville's education system. Cokeville Public Library. He had tried this deviceand they were designed tothat it would be a delayed explosion. Windows were opened to rid the room of gasoline fumes, and prayers were offered in small groups among the children. 10 Years Later, Cokeville Just Says: Let Us Be., Pierce, Scott D. Save the Children is Shallow, Exploitative: Focus is on Wacko Bomber Instead of 167 Cokeville Students and Teachers., Troone, Trent. I cannot tell you what happened. COKEVILLE, Wyo. They had a circle of tape around the device itself and they said, "Do not come inside of this circle. (before I see Hollywood's version). Do you ever think about them? In 2006, the Cokeville Miracle Foundation compiled a book of recollections about the day from parents, emergency workers and former hostages. And they had trouble keeping people away from the building. They increasingly spoke about their memories in public with professional psychologists, church officials and community counselors. David Young was the only police officer in Cokeville for six months in 1979. Rich Haskell: No, I don't think it exited. On May 16, 1986, a man and his wife with a bomb took . Many of the children who stated they saw angels were of various faiths. At 1:00 pm, they pulled up to the Cokeville Elementary School and unloaded a gasoline bomb, along with four rifles and nine handguns. [5], "You could see that the roof tiles had been lifted out of their brackets. He knew it was a predominantly Mormon [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] community. NOTE: Witness to Miracles was published in 2006 by Pronghorn Press, . over there. During the chaos, Doris' burnt body was expelled through a window, and left lying on the front lawn. Trauma is trauma and everyone deals with it differently. Hi MadreDeUnMono! When I arrived I could see out on the lawn, there was a black object laying out on the grass. On May 16, 1986, David and Doris Young took 154 people hostage at the Cokeville Elementary School in tiny Cokeville, Wyo. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast. I'm proud of all my children. Over the course of time he did various things to get our input from script readings early on, to being there on set, etc. There are several great resources out there. So if the state didn't pay him, he figured the Mormon church would pay him because the Mormon church has money also. Jessica Clark, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of history and political science at Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs, Wyo. On May 16, 1986, David and Doris Young entered Cokeville Elementary School with a gasoline bomb, a variety of rifles and handguns, David's philosophical writings and demands for $300 million in ransom. For instance, The Cokeville Miracle Foundations 2005 book Witness to Miracles: Remembering the Cokeville Elementary School Bombing and the Wyoming State Archives oral history project called Survivor is My Name both focused on the reconstructing of this narrative as a miracle instead of a tragedy. In Cokeville, Nowhere, Wyo. The man and woman who took an elementary school here hostage Friday, injuring 70 children when their homemade gasoline bomb exploded, had ties to the Posse Comitatus and other white supremacist. I'm not saying all of 'em were bombs, but why did God cut out Cokeville and say nobody's going to get hurt in this? Encircled it. They did a good job telling this story. The timelines of some events are fuzzy Its hard to nail down what stands out the most, there were a LOT of crazy things I'd never seen before then, or since really. Mark Junge: How many actual bombs have you had experience with? We're in a conference room here on the main floor. Mark Junge: What's been your experiences since then? She was totally burned. It was perfect! Rich Haskell: I don't know. You can't think, well, maybe something could happen, because yes it could. it is VERY LDS, and yet there are at least 3 other churches in town: Episcopal, Catholic, Baptist (and sometimes a non-denominational church). And I think it's made me a stronger person. One of the miracles that day was that not a single person was lost. On May 16, 1986, David and Doris Young entered Cokeville Elementary School with a gasoline bomb, a variety of rifles and handguns, David's philosophical writings and demands for $300 million You know something about bombs. . So there's doubt in your mind that there was divine intervention? Peterson, Carol. You could walk across the street and get run over as far as that's concerned, but I don't know if my wife has any more gray hairs because I've chosen this profession. Located in Lincoln County and nestled between the towns of Star Valley and Kemmerer on the Wyoming-Idaho border, Cokeville, many residents believed, was a safe place to rear children. Mark Junge: Yeah, my brother-in-law worked in the Navy as a chief petty officer and he worked with what they called EOD. You should also know that TC basically just wove a storyline into and between the facts and witness testimonies. Throughout both baskets were chain links, gunpowder, and boxes of ammunition acting as shrapnel. Rich Haskell: That's my oldest boy, Steven. And that was their whole intent of coming to Cokeville. Rich Haskell: Okay, I'll buy that! By rejecting non-essential cookies, Reddit may still use certain cookies to ensure the proper functionality of our platform. Did this shake the faith of some people, or would you say it strengthened it in most? Rich Haskell: Oh my goodness! Cokeville Bombing. Undated scrapbook. Lota, Louinn. David's youngest daughter from his first marriage, Princess, entered the elementary school with David and Doris, but refused to carry out the plan, leaving to report the incident at the town hall. I actually have a pretty clear memory of the events that day, being 12 years old. Mark Junge: Curious, Rich. The kids couldn't have done it. I had the chance to watch the pre-screening of the film and it was very emotional. It's a little basket that has different layers on it. They forget about what happened in Cokeville with a lot more people and the potential of what was there. At least 74 people, most of them children, suffered second-degree burns when the bomb went off at about 4 P.M. at the Cokeville Elementary School. When Deppe and Mendenhall finally got wind of his plans moments before the hostage crisis unfolded, they refused to participate. Well, when I arrived and saw that body layin' on the front lawn, I was told that was Doris. Doris tried numerous times to calm the children by telling them to "think of it as an adventure movie," or that they "would have a great story to tell their grandchildren." So many of 'em thatI don't know. Transcriber's notes: I have added some reference footnotes to this transcript where I thought appropriate. The Cokeville Elementary School was the site of a horrific hostage situation on May 16, 1986 when David and Dorris Young took a homemade bomb inside the school. results in the deaths of perpetrators David and Doris Young; 154 hostages survive. Rich Haskell: Sure. I mean, okay, you lose the Twin Towers, you might get the Pentagon damaged, but if somebody's town hall or school is blown up in Star Valley [Wyo.] No. I gathered up some of the equipment that I would need and a change of clothes and proceeded to Cokeville. I know it is real. Cook, the school's secretary and the first person taken hostage, could tell Young's threats were serious. I mean, not everybody would do this. Mark Junge: This bomb was designed to do what? [5][10][8], When the bomb detonated, the majority of the explosive force was channeled through loose ceiling tiles into the roof, and open windows acting as vents. She's an avid genealogist, so maybe get involved with that, and maybe go on a mission for the church. What is your assessment of these two people who did this? Which is hard to believe, but a positive experience in that they learned something. It said in there that they had brought blasting caps, ammunition, those types of things in and there was a sealed briefcase that was in the hallway. Rich Haskell: Yes, absolutely. May 12, 2011, 2:30am PDT. Upon entering the classroom, children saw an arsenal of weapons, a grocery cart and an unfamiliar manDavid Young. The Cokeville hostage crisis began the afternoon of May 16, 1986, David and Doris Young took 154 children and adults hostage at the Cokeville Elementary School in tiny Cokeville, Wyo. David became increasingly agitated, and decided to leave the room. Personally I gave him 17 pages of journal notes! [7] Geography [ edit] Ahntastic Adventures in Silicon Valley welcomes the support of the following sponsors. And they had practiced how to get out of that building. He came out of the bathroom, is what we figured. David Young. results in the deaths of perpetrators David and Doris Young; 154 hostages survive. When the thing went off, when the bomb exploded, they just started chuckin' people out the windows. I mean, we're talking about from kindergarten kids up to 10-, 11-, 12-years old. And knew what they could do? David attached the bomb trigger to his wrist and threatened the group that he might, at any time, move his arm and ignite the bomb. TC (the director) also worked incredibly hard to make this a story that can be widely appreciated by members of all faiths. If you are interested in seeing the film, theaters are listed here. Box 37, Cokeville, Wyoming 83114. And, then, shortly after 4 p.m., the bomb exploded. Only the man and his wife, who accidentally detonated the bomb, died that day in 1986. Davids writings reveal that he hoped life would be better for him and Cokevilles children in this imaginary place. She is a beautiful example of turning tragedy into triumph. The Cokeville Town Hall is located at 110 Pine St. For more information, visit the website of the Cokeville Chamber of Commerce at or call (307) 459-4195. But it still sent flames all over in the room and you can see where all the flames were in that room. Mark Junge: That's a record of all the people we've talked to! David, Doris and Princess proceeded to the elementary school and entered the building shortly after 1 p.m. that Friday. David went to the school office, handing out a manifesto titled "ZERO EQUALS INFINITY" and announcing "This is a revolution!" I'm portrayed as the little red haired kid with glasses that asks about the AK-47. Rich Haskell: I think it could be a spiritual experience that I have with church, or being around the kids, I don't know. I actually hadn't thought of doing that, yet. Two of the three blasting caps on the bomb failed to detonate; the wires to each tuna can had been reportedly cut. As I got closer to it I could tell it was a body, and of course, you just start thinking about what took place. The Cokeville Elementary School hostage crisis occurred on Friday, May 16, 1986 in Cokeville, Wyoming, United States, when former town marshal David Young, 43, and his wife Doris Young, 47, [1] took 136 children and 18 adults hostage at Cokeville Elementary School. The bomb was an improvised explosive device constructed in a small two-wheeled shopping cart with two baskets, one on top of the other. This wasn't a simple bomb. They're the ones that died from the whole thing. When I looked up to see if David had heard me (which he had, and scowled down at me) I noticed that the florescent white light overhead was not white, but a yellow hazy light. May 16, 1986, will never be forgotten by the residents of Cokeville, Wyo. The miraculous events that followed transformed the lives of hundreds of people, including many who witnessed angels or received heavenly help from deceased ancestors. Guys like you have to go and search every corner. The blasting cap in the gasoline jug functioned properly, initiating the explosion. It's a continuous training thing and years and years and years of continuous training with the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, with the fire marshals and now that it has come into it with the hazardous materials and everything else. Cokeville Recollects Miracle of 1986: Hostage Survivors, Town Residents Compile Book, ________. Rich Haskell: Not really that often, but every time I think about it I get very emotional. To my right is Sue Castaneda who is the Wyoming Oral History Project Director, and across the table from me is Rich Haskell, who is a certified bomb technician. [13], Coordinates: .mw-parser-output .geo-default,.mw-parser-output .geo-dms,.mw-parser-output .geo-dec{display:inline}.mw-parser-output .geo-nondefault,.mw-parser-output .geo-multi-punct{display:none}.mw-parser-output .longitude,.mw-parser-output .latitude{white-space:nowrap}420457N 1105719W / 42.08250N 110.95528W / 42.08250; -110.95528. He was dismissed, however, from this position shortly after his six-month probationary period. He knew what the community was all about. Twenty-five years ago on Monday, a man and his wife pushed a homemade gasoline bomb into Cokeville's sole elementary school and demanded $300 million in ransom. The kids couldn't have cut it. The photo of Rich Haskell is by Wyoming State Archives. Mark Junge: This was a life-changing event. Returning, David Young shot his wife, then himself. Carbon County School District No. Virginia Tech, it wasn't that way. Mark Junge: Today is the 23rd of September, 2010. David returned to the restroom and killed himself, ending the hostage crisis. My name is Mark Junge and I'm here at the Hiltonis it the Hilton Hotel? Others miracles were reported and some of those are recorded in this compilation.." Contact us at for information on levels and types of available sponsorships. Rich Haskell: I sometimes do, but you can't let yourself think about it. It'sI'm still doing that kind of thing because whenever they hold General Conference in Salt Lake City I go to Salt Lake City to be part of the bomb team for the church while they have General Conference. By Jamie Armstrong May 22, 2015 09:35 AM MDT. And screaming, I can't imagine the screams that she was making. He still needed to tell it to his parents though, and that's basically what you see in the movie. In 1986, 154 children and teachers survived the bombing of Cokeville Elementary School. Amy Bagaso Williams was a fifth-grader when a couple used a bomb while taking hostages at her Wyoming school on May 16, 1986. Rich Haskell: Yeah, there was some people ready to just shoot him right where he was sitting. Now you've got problems. Lenita's father Rocky was a fifth grade teacher at Cokeville Elementary School at the time of the bombing, Lenita was a seventh grader.