In a May 16, 1986 photo, the body of Doris Young is removed by officials after the Cokeville Elementary hostage situation in Cokeville, Wyo. On May 16, 1986, a man and his wife with a bomb took the entire student body at the town’s only elementary school hostage. David Young demanded $300 million in ransom. The bomb accidentally detonated, and Young shot and killed his wife and then himself. RICK SORENSON/Casper Star-Tribune
The Miracle of Cokeville
Some places are branded by disaster, by the stories of one horrible day that no one can forget: Oklahoma City, Columbine, and the Twin Towers. What sets Cokeville apart is that the story of its horrible day is about what almost happened but didn’t.
Cokeville Wyoming was the sight of a parent’s worst nightmare on May 16th, 1986 when a mentally disturbed man and his wife entered an elementary school with guns and a homemade gasoline bomb. They kept all the children in a single room while positioning themselves in the middle of it, David and Doris Young began a standoff that would last hours.
David Young, a former town Marshall, he had been the tiny towns only police officer in six months during 1979 and when he was fired, he moved to Tucson, Arizona. He and his wife returned to Cokeville in 1986 and carried out their insidious plan. Young had a manifesto called “Zero-Infiniti” and proclaimed “this is a revolution!” as he and his wife took an entire generation – over 160 children, teachers, and school staff, he held them to hostage and wouldn’t release them until he was given over 300 million dollars and a personal phone call from the President of the United States.
The heart-stopping events in this remote town — so remote that in 1986 it wasn’t on some highway maps — made headlines around the world.
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