Cokeville: What happened May 16, 1986?

This is an archived article that was published on in 2006, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

* David Young, 43, and his wife, Doris Young, 47, entered Cokeville Elementary at 1:20 p.m. and held 154 students, teachers and administrators hostage in a classroom. The captors demanded $300 million in ransom to finance a long-planned revolution.

* At 3:40 p.m., Doris Young accidentally detonated a firebomb, injuring nearly 80 children and adults. More than 20 had to be hospitalized with burns.

* Doris Young was seriously injured in that blast. But an autopsy revealed she died from a gunshot to the head. Minutes after the explosion, David Young shot himself to death.

* During the standoff, David Young handed out copies of a rambling memo to hostages with references to Socrates, nuclear war, Christ, Hitler and the "nothingness of knowledge."

Source: Salt Lake Tribune archives

Background on Cokeville siege

* In 1979, David Young was Cokeville's town marshal and was jokingly referred to as Wyatt Earp because he wore long-barreled pistols in gunslinger-type holsters strapped to his leg. The mayor fired Young because ''he was a weirdo who wouldn't follow orders or do his job.''

* Gerald Deppe of Grinnell, Iowa, and Doyle Mendenhall of Preston, Idaho, were found handcuffed in Young's van. They had refused to go along with the plan.

* Young's stepdaughter, Princess Young, was forced to help carry bombs and guns into the school and then told to leave. She ran to City Hall and reported the siege.

* Found at the scene were 39 blasting caps, a canister of gunpowder and a canister of powdered aluminum along with a dozen handguns, assault rifles and shotguns.

* Sheriff's investigator Ron Hartley, who read dozens of Young's diaries, believes he targeted Cokeville because he considered the children to be intelligent and he wanted them to surround him in a reincarnated world that he would dominate.

Source: Salt Lake Tribune archives