When you understand all the facts in this story, when you spend the time to understand exactly how the witness testimonies came about, it is hard to explain the events of that day in Cokeville as anything other than a miracle. Some are eye witness to the power that saved us, some heard voices helping them, others simply felt that things would work out. Some prefer the word "mystery"; but that only tells the story from one perspective - an unsolved one. We understand why our story was featured on shows like "Unsolved Mysteries" but it is difficult to observe a story such as ours, which includes sacred and deeply personal witness testimony of angels - and angels recognized as ancestors - in a format that book-ends our account with that of alien abductions and the like... The purpose of this website is to share the documented stories in our own way.

Those of us that do want to share, do so cautiously, knowing that not all will understand or accept our testimonies. We do hold these things sacred, but can't seem to shake the feeling that sharing this message can, and will help someone on some level to gain a hope, a faith, a knowledge that God is still a God of miracles. We believe He is a loving Father that wants to protect us from the evils of this world, but that also must allow us the freedom to ask for such divine intervention. As children, we believed what our parents had taught us. We did not doubt it. We asked in prayer, with childlike faith. Make no mistake, we do not claim to be special because we were saved, but proclaim that the power of prayer is special - regardless of religious affiliation.

Since the Cokeville hostage crisis of 1986, the world has seen an increase in violent takeovers that have ended tragically. Each one of those events has reminded us, in visceral ways, what we went through in our own trial by terror. Yet we survived. We cannot explain why some stories seem to end in tragedy, but that does not mean we should necessarily hide our own history. Perhaps because we see an increase in such violence, particularly against small children, we want all the more to offer our story of hope.

Confidence in a loving God - and those that be with Him - seems increasingly rare, while evil acts seem to be on the rise. Perhaps the two are related - maybe more than some would like to admit. While many continue to downplay the role of God in our daily affairs, we offer our story as one example that miracles have not ceased in this world. We want to share precisely because it is, indeed, a faith-promoting story. We hope our story can spread some light in this darkening world.
May God bless us all.

The Facts of The Cokeville Miracle

May 16, 1986 began like any other at the Cokeville Elementary School in the small town of Cokeville, Wyoming. Shortly after the lunchtime recess, David and Doris Young entered the school building with dozens of guns, boxes of ammunition, and a home-made bomb in a small, two-wheeled personal shopping cart. He approached the School Secretary, Tina Cook, and told her he was taking over the school, that this was "a revolution". David's daughter was horrified at what was happening and defied her father's orders to further assist him. Rather than shooting her, as he'd threatened to do, he threw her the van keys and told her to leave.

The white van, with windows painted white to conceal the contents, held the first two hostages of the crisis, hand-cuffed to the inside of the van. These were David's long time friends and "business partners" anxious to learn the details of their investment in David's "Biggie" money-making scheme. Immediately opposing David's plan to hold the children of Cokeville hostage for a ransom of 2 million per child, the two business partners were handcuffed to the legs of the van's back seat just minutes before David approached the school. David's daughter, with the handcuffed men inside, fled from the school in the only escape vehicle towards Cokeville's Town Hall building. Her startling news took time to process, but once confirmed, the information she provided was vital to organizing a proper response. David's daughter and the other two men were later released with no criminal charges.

Emergency response personnel from Cokeville, and many surrounding towns in the tri-state area were summoned. One emergency crew was instructed to remain on standby nearly a mile out of town to "pick up the pieces", not knowing for certain how big the blast might be, if the bomb were to detonate. Cokeville High and Junior High were made aware of the situation occurring at the elementary school. The students sat in shocked disbelief. One student, an older brother to two of the young hostages asked his teacher if the man with the bomb might consider trading him for his two younger siblings. Buses were called in to take students home - where they would deliver the horrifying news to their parents. While waiting for the buses to arrive at the school, the High School principal called an impromptu assembly in the gymnasium/auditorium. It was an obvious time for prayer.

In the elementary school, Rocky Moore, the 5th grade teacher, had walked into the siege at the Receptionist's desk. Rocky had been David's landlord nearly a decade earlier, when David had worked temporarily as Town Marshall. David proved to be overly fond of his guns, and was fired from the position after only six months. Vengeance for that firing doesn't appear as a motive for his return, judging from his extensive journals kept from the time he had left Cokeville the first time. There was no reference of vengeance in his extensive journals. But did David recognized Rocky as his former landlord and immediately pointed his 44 Colt revolver at Rocky's nose. Rocky was a rugged, mountain man type to be sure - as his name suggests. He was no pushover. But Mr. Moore understood the threat to the entire school. Room number 4, in the south wing of the school was chosen to contain his growing number of hostages.

Witness Accounts & Additional Reading Resources

Child Hostage Accounts

Children Hostage Accounts

136 children from pre-school age to 6th Grade were held hostage by David and Doris.

Adult Hostage Accounts

Adult Hostage Accounts

Devoted teachers, parents, a job applicant, and an ill-timed UPS driver composed the adult hostages.

Emergency Response

Emergency Response

Emergency and hospital crews from neighboring towns recount miracles of their own in the aftermath.

More Witness Accounts

Family & Town Responses

Parents and other relatives share their reaction to the events on
May 16, 1986.

  • Inside the Classroom

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  • The Town Responds

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  • Talk of Miracles

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