Thankfully, various efforts were made to record and document the events of that day, and the aftermath, so that a clear picture can be obtained. The first of these efforts was a book entitled "Trial by Terror" by Hartt and Judene Wixom. As parents of one of the survivors, and journalists by trade, they felt uniquely positioned to tell the story - a story that may have been forgotten by news media precisely because there were no hostages killed, and no ongoing court trial of the suspects, etcetera. While the fact that 154 hostages survived was an obvious miracle in itself, a deeper layer began to emerge with details of angels and divine intervention in various, specific ways roughly ten minutes before the bomb detonated.

As those stories of angels emerged just months before the publication date, the original manuscript was re-written (at the prompting of parents of eyewitnesses) to tell an entirely new dimension of the story... one of Angels appearing and performing various tasks: providing warning, comfort, and protection. These stories of loved ones from the other side of the veil were mentioned in a "Life After Life" book. CBS Television took note of the story of Cokeville, and in 1993 began production of a made-for-TV-movie entitled, "When Angels Intervene to Save the Children". The book title was changed from "Trial by Terror" to match the CBS effort. While perhaps impactful to those new to the story, this first movie was underwhelming in the eyes of nearly all witnesses of that day - and with only a minor mention about the miraculous events of that day. As T.C. Christensen approached the Wixoms about their story to make "The Cokeville Miracle" movie , some 20 years later, there was an apprehension, to say the least, about another movie being made. The Wixoms saw that the topics revealed in their book would be treated very carefully by Christensen, and that this was an opportunity to finally get the better part of the story told with this new effort. In a way of distancing themselves from the previous attempts, they chose (with permission from the movie makers) to have their book title changed one final time to match the same title chosen for this movie - which is much more suited between book and movie. Their new edition is titled "The Cokeville Miracle - When Angels Intervene" You can learn more about the process of making that movie here.

In 2006, as the 20 year anniversary of May 16, 1986 approached, an inspired effort was made by a group of Cokeville residents to record the stories directly from those who were involved. The stories were compiled and published by the collective authorship and funds from the newly formed "Cokeville Miracle Foundation" as "Witness to Miracles." The Cokeville Miracle Foundation continues to use proceeds from the book in various scholarship and local community causes to recognize God's hand in our lives. To learn more about the Cokeville Miracle Foundation, click here.

Child Hostage Accounts

Children Hostage Accounts

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

Adult Hostage Accounts

Adult Hostage Accounts

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

Emergency Response

Emergency Response

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

More Witness Accounts

Family & Town Responses

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

Child Hostage Accounts

While we hold these accounts sacred and very personal, it seems important to share them, in our own way. For more context on the sharing of these stories, please read the "Foreword" on the Home Page.

Kam Wixom - 12 yr old, 6th Grade Student

After-lunch recess ended, we brushed off grass stains and some mud spots from our clothes. We were happy to be done with the snowy months, and enjoying the warmer weather. We filed inside for our 30 minutes of quiet reading time. Mr. Mitchell interrupted the silent reading and asked us if we noticed a smell of gasoline. Many of us did. He wondered if the custodian was getting the lawn mower ready for spring or something. We returned to our books to finish up reading time and then walked single file to the south side of the building for our routine afternoon bathroom break. Ready to return to class, I lined up near Mr. Mitchell against the media center wall, facing down the south hallway. Most of us were lined up, ready to return to class when a lady walked up to us from room number four. She asked if we could follow her to the 2nd grade room, she had a surprise waiting for us in Room 4. Mr. Mitchell was visibly and audibly puzzled. He wondered why he didn’t know anything about this surprise, seeing that his own wife was the teacher in that room. As we followed her toward the room, he turned to us, asking if any of us knew who this woman was. No one knew. The door opened and the room was darkened, with many of the overhead florescent lights turned off...

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Lori Nate Conger - 11 yr old, 5th Grade Student 1986

I was just finishing my 5th grade year and was in the music room with my class waiting for our music teacher to return with a video machine so we could watch our concert from the night before. He was gone an especially long time, and I began to feel something was not quite right. Then, a strange lady appeared and told us to follow her to the first grade class room where the rest of the school was waiting. I felt very wary of her, but not knowing what else to do (and not expecting the circumstances that awaited us), we followed. As soon as we stepped inside the room, I knew something was definitely wrong. There was a feeling there of fear and apprehension.

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4th Grade Student

COMING SOON

3rd Grade Student

COMING SOON

2nd Grade Student

COMING SOON

Katie Walker - 7 yr old, 1st Grade Student 1986

Katie Walker It was a normal spring day for me I got up went to school ate lunch had recess and was about our normal daily activities which included being combined with the other 1st grade class in the afternoon for reading time, when a man walked in to our classroom pulling a cart behind him. A woman was with him, carrying guns that she lined up near the chalkboard. Other classes started to come in to the classroom, Room4, and I was joined by my friends and neighbors and a brother and sister when they came in the room. I wasn't scared at first, simply because at age 7 I was pretty oblivious to strangers and "bad people" in the world. I lived in a town of less than 500 and I trusted others, although that would soon change.

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Jennie Sorensen - 7 yr old, 1st Grade Student 1986

Jennie Sorensen There were two 1st Grades at the time. I remember it being a nice, spring day in May and I had just come in from an enjoyable recess. After lunch recess, we were getting ready to settle down for story time. My teacher was combining with the other 1st grade across the hall and they gathered us in our classroom (Room 4). It was always fun to get together and I was especially happy to be altogether that day. We were interrupted by a man (David Young) and his wife (Doris Young) bursting into our 1st grade classroom. She immediately lined up guns along the chalk board. A lot of guns! I had been around hunting rifles all my life due to the fact that we lived in the country and my father hunted every fall so I wasn’t worried at that point. I think I thought, “well this is a weird place for an assembly and that is a weird looking grocery cart!”

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Kindergarten Student

COMING SOON

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.
READ THEIR STORIES

Adult Hostage Accounts

Adult Hostage Accounts

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

Emergency Response

Emergency Response

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

More Witness Accounts

Family & Town Responses

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