Remembering ‘The Cokeville, Wyoming Miracle’ 33 Years Later
If you grew up in Wyoming, May 16, 1986, is a day you will probably never forget. 33 years ago, a deranged former police officer and his wife stormed into Cokeville Elementary School and took 154 students and teachers hostage.
David Young had been Cokeville's town marshal in the 70s, where he met and married his wife Doris. Together, they hatched a plan to take over the school and demand a $2 million ransom for each student. In the early afternoon, they entered the school armed with a stockpile of weapons and a homemade bomb. Doris gathered all of the students and teachers in a first-grade classroom where they were held for several hours.
Shortly after 4 p.m., David went to the restroom and Doris accidentally triggered the bomb, critically injuring herself. When David returned, he shot and killed his wife, then shot a music teacher who was helping children escape through a window before turning the gun on himself.
The teacher and all of the students made it out alive. 79 of the hostages were taken to a hospital and treated for burns and smoke inhalation.
In the aftermath of the incident, another story emerged. Several survivors reported seeing angels just moments before the bomb was detonated, who directed them to one side of the room, away from the blast. The hostage crisis has since become known as "The Cokeville Miracle".