The world is a bit safer today. Kenneth Eugene Parnell is dead at age 76. He died from natural causes, at the State of California Correctional Facility Officials in Vacaville California Medical Facility. For readers unfamiliar with the notoriety of Kenneth Eugene Parnell's history, he is perhaps one of California's most brazen child kidnappers and molesters.
On December 4, 1972, Kenneth Eugene Parnell was responsible for kidnapping 7-year-old Steven Stayner from the quiet California town of Merced, which is not far from Yosemite Park where Parnell worked. Parnell drove into Merced with a coworker, who convinced Steven Stayner to get into Parnell's car. Eugene Parnell learned in the first few days of Steven's captivity that Steven was in trouble the day before his disappearance. Steven was frightened that when he did not go home after school on the day Eugene Parnell took him to his cabin, that his mother was angry with him. Eugene Parnell took these fears of Steven's to heart and feed them to the little boy to keep him living in fear and despair.
Shortly after kidnapping Steven Parnell told Steven he talked to Steven's mom and dad and that they did not want him to come home. Parnell also told Steven that he had adopted Steven, and that Steven would now be his son, Dennis Parnell, and he was to call Eugene "dad." Everyone who saw the pair thought they were the ideal father and son. For seven years from that day forward, Eugene Parnell would control Steven Stayner, physical, emotional, sexual, and spiritually.
Meanwhile Kay and Del Stayner never stopped looking for their son, and never stopped believing that one day somehow he would come home again. At times Eugene attempted to kidnap another child but some how Steven managed to foil the plans, so Eugene hired another teen, a friend of Steven 's to help him grab a five year old, Timmy White on a Valentines day in the 80's. Steven was angry and scared and knew that he could never let anyone go through what he had been through as a kidnap victim.
Steven Stayner takes Timmy and tries to leave him at the police station but police who are in total disbelief that Steven Stayner is alive catch both Timmy and Steven. Timmy goes home and is safe. Yet it takes the police awhile to convince Steven that his parents never stopped looking for him and that they are not mad at him. Finally, Steven believes the police and allows them to call his mom and dad. The call Kay and Del Stayner waited for finally came! Their Steven is alive!
Parnell's criminal history is long beginning in the 1950's, when he first served time for impersonating a police officer to abduct a child for sexual abuse. In the 80's The jury finds Kenneth Parnell guilty of kidnapping and sexual abuse of Steven Stayner and kidnapping of Timmy White, and Parnell receives a sentence of seven years prison time, but only serves five of those seven years.
While in his late seventies, Parnell offered one of his caregivers $500.00 cash if she brought him "a little African American boy" to his home. Initially the caregiver thought he was joking, yet when she realized he was not she involved the authorities, who found multiple sex toys in his home. The jury only took 90 minutes to find him guilty and send him back to prison, where he died last week.
Steven Stayner was not so lucky to live a full life into his late 70's. Steven, who returned home at age 14, went on to live almost ten full years after his rescue from the horrid torturous control of Kenneth Parnell. Steven was passionate about educating schoolchildren about the dangers of talking to strangers. Sadly, Steven died tragically, in 1989 when his motorcycle hit a car; he left behind a wife and two children.
Steven is a hero. He saved Timmy White from years of torture and abuse, and a lifetime of haunting memories. May angels bless and hold Steven Stayner gently in their soft warm wings of love. I send my special angel prayer to Steven's parents Kay and Del Stayner, who have had more tragedy in a lifetime than any parent should ever have to bear.