Infamous child kidnapper/predator dies in prison


    Sex offender Kenneth Parnell dies in Vacaville

    Steve Rubenstein, Chronicle Staff Writer
    Wednesday, January 23, 2008
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    (01-22) 15:10 PST VACAVILLE -- Convicted sex offender Kenneth Parnell, known for the 1972 kidnapping and seven-year-long confinement of Steven Stayner, died Monday in the state prison hospital at Vacaville.

    Parnell, 76, died of natural causes, the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said. He had been on what the prison called hospice status.

    A three-time inmate, Parnell had most recently been imprisoned since 2004 after being convicted of attempting to buy a 4-year-old child in Berkeley. He had been sentenced to 25 years to life under the "three strikes" law.

    On Dec. 4, 1972, Parnell kidnapped 7-year-old Steven Stayner in Merced. He kept him from running away by showering him with gifts and telling him his parents could no longer afford him.

    The events that led to his arrest began when Parnell abducted another boy, 5-year-old Timmy White of Ukiah (Mendocino County), in February 1980. Steven, then 14, escaped with the boy two weeks later and hitchhiked 40 miles to the Ukiah police station, telling authorities that Parnell had molested him and that he didn't want Timmy to suffer the same abuse.

    Parnell, a former motel clerk who served three years in prison for molesting an 8-year-old Bakersfield boy in 1952, denied he had abused Steven.

    Parnell was convicted of kidnapping, sent to state prison and paroled in 1985. He was not charged with any sex crimes because under the law at that time, the additional charges would not have added any time to his sentence.

    Stayner later died in a motorcycle accident. He was the younger brother of Cary Stayner, the motel handyman who was sentenced to death for killing three tourists and a Yosemite park naturalist in 1999.

    Parnell returned to state prison in April 2004 for soliciting a felony in connection with the attempt to buy the 4-year-old boy. Berkeley police arrested him after a woman who made deliveries at his house said he had sought her help in procuring an African American boy, along with a birth certificate.

    "Kenneth Parnell's death brings to a close his long criminal history of violating young children," said Tim Wellman, the Alameda County deputy district attorney who prosecuted him in the 2004 case.

    His defense lawyer in that case, Deborah Levy, remembered Parnell as an "easy, agreeable client" who realized that his legal defense was difficult because his voice had been secretly recorded while he was attempting to buy the child.

    "It was a difficult case to defend, because you actually hear him asking about the kid," Levy said.

    In a 2003 jailhouse interview with The Chronicle, Parnell admitted that he had tried to buy the boy to experience the "love and respect" that a son has for a father. He said he had no intention of harming the boy.

    "Time is running out on me," said Parnell, who was 71 at the time.

    Parnell said he had hoped to raise a family by arranging to buy a boy and a girl. He said he sought the love of children because he had "not had any luck with women" and also said it was not wrong to buy a child, because "there's been other cultures that have been doing that."

    Parnell said he did not care if people did not like him.

    "I guess they have their reasons," he said.
  2. Thanks Roo for posting this!

    I remember this whole thing, from the kidnapping of Steven to the kidnapping of Timmy (he lived in my town when he was grabbed over on Luce Street. Steven was very brave to have hiked from the RV area to the Police Station to save Timmy.

    The fact he got less than five years for sexually abusing Steven for 7 years just sickened me. And that was combined with the second kidnapping as well of Timmy! Outrageous! I always felt that Parnell's actions is what made Steven's brother Cary do what he did, that boy had a ton of mental problems by the time Steven was brought back home.

    This was a true pedophile. I'm so glad the gal who he tried to get him a new child called the cops. I remember when he was arrested for that... he lived in Berkely at the time. He stole Steven Stayner's life.

    BTW< a good book about this case is "I Know My First Name Is Steven". It fills in all the places they moved to, all the things Parnell did to keep Steven off-balance, all the planning of keeping one step ahead of the law...
  3. OMG, thats awful. What an odd relationship there is between the two events of Steven Stayner's kidnapping and Cary Stayner's heinous crimes. It really has me pondering....Obviously(?) the effects of kidnapping and abuse are not limited to just the victims themselves, but also their family members and loved ones. I really wonder ig Cary Stayner's actions had direct roots in the circumstances surrounding his brother's abduction.

    A tragic situation all around.
  4. When the Yosemite murders happened and they discovered Cary Stayner was responsible, they dug back into his childhodd because of what happened to his brother... it came out the Del Stayner, the boy's father, blamed Cary often during the time Steven was missing for not protecting his baby brother. Then, when Steven came home, he was allowed to do things even Cary, who was older, wasn't allowed to do, such as smoke in the house, keep a dog in the house, and then he got a ton of reward money for returning Timmy Whiye to his family. (Let it be known though, Steven did not do this for the money, he did it to keep Parnell from abusing Timmy as well.)

    Siblings do some strange things when they've been pushed aside especially by parents during times like this. It happened in the 70's and no-one thought to get the remaining children therapy. Cary Stayner cried for help long before Steven was found... he pulled out his hair and eyebrows in High School, did some "peeping tom" activities, yet no-one in authority tried to help him.

    I feel so bad for the Stayner family... They've had a never-ending nightmare since this all began. I pray with Parnell's death, they can start some kind of healing. Although I know for the Stayners, it'll never be the same.
  5. He died? GOOD.

    I have no mercy for people who do this. Sexual abuse was something that was done to several of my family members.. BY family members. Deciding to sexually abuse someone is deciding to rot in hell. IMHO.
  6. The lowest of the low.

    Enjoy the heat .....
  7. Thanks for all the info, Speedy, really interesting and sad. =\

    Well, I'm glad he is gone for good!
  8. good riddens
  9. How can that defense lawyer sleep at night? She heard the recording herself. She's a low-life too. I'm glad he died. I hope he went horribly.
  10. I hope he's extra toasty tonight.

    How horrible, I can't even imagine what those boys went through. What strength it must've taken the older one to finally get away.
  11. Sadly JAN! defense lawyers have a job to do. It's up to them to present the defendants side of the case, without public predijuce. They probably don't sleep at night. That's the sad part... she's an upstanding tax-paying attorney who just happened to have the bad luck of having to represent this scum-ball.

    Just a correction. There was never any proof he was able to assualt Timothy White. Steven Stayner got him out tof the house before it happened, when he was presented with Timmy as a "little brother", Steven wouldn't allow him out of his sight until Parnell left them alone a few days after Timmy was kidnapped while he went to work. Then Steven walked and hitch-hiked with Timmy until they got to the Ukiah California police station. The only thing that had been done to him at that point was Parnell had dyed his blonde hair brown.

    BUT I'M GLAD THIS SUCKER is finally dead! I totally lost it when I found out he'd served FIVE years for kidnapping and sexually abusing Steven and kidnapping Timmy. (My son was young when he was released, and they didn't say where he was... ) He'll answer to his Maker now. :yahoo:
  12. How horribly sad, especially for the Stayner family. It's amazing how crappy a hand you can be dealt through no fault of your own. To have one child kidnapped, the other on death row, and the returned child killed in an accident is more than anyone can probably take! I pray for them also.
  13. I can't say I feel any remorse for this scumbag's death. Nothing upsets me more than people who can willingly hurt a child. It is beyond my understanding. When I was an intern during my residency, we had a man brought in by the police who turned out to be a local inmate who was incarcerated for molesting numerous little boys. The tattoos on his body were some of the most disgusting I have ever seen. He had tried to commit suicide by escaping and jumping off the roof of the prison, but only broke his neck and wound up a quadrapalegic. Poetic justice in one sense. But it creeped me out to even have to go check on him every day. I wanted to punch him in the face. These types of people deserve a slow painful death, as far as I am concerned. They ruin these innocent childrens' lives and their families' lives forever; something they will never get back.
  14. Wow, i am so glad this menace is off to somewhere hot and tortuous. I was pregnant with my son when the movie came out. It freaked me out so bad. i was so paranoid about my son. I can't believe he got away with it for so many years. I didn't know that Steven tragic! Their family had to have been in constant pain and anguish.
    This guy reminds me of the recent scumbag in Missouri who kept that other boy for years and then got another boy. He worked in the local Pizza Place and served the cops who eventually nailed him. I hope he fries as well.
    Those boys are so traumatized for life.
    I really feel that child molesters should have a unique punishment that is worse than a slow painful death...and never released as they are never cured.
    I met an older man carrying my groceries from the market( he worked
    there) and we were chatting about kids and the internet. He said kids should be careful because of so many predators and how there was a pediatrician arrested in Thailand for being part of a pervert group that hurts little boys. I looked at this man and then he told me how when he was 12 years old, a man raped him and his parents and police never got the guy. I could tell he had lived with so much pain and lack of self esteem...
  15. I don't think justice prevailed in this case. I'm glad the man died in jail. I wonder if he ever felt any remorse for what he did.

    That's terrible about the link between Cary Stayner and Steve Stayner - this is the first I have heard about it. That poor family has been through hell.