April 11, 2010

The curse of Kenneth Parnell

Reaching out from the grave?

In another tragic twist to the infamous case of Kenneth Parnell, the pedophile's younger kidnapping victim has died of a pulmonary embolism at the young age of 35. Timothy White, a sheriff's deputy, leaves behind a wife and two young children.

I followed this case closely when it broke in 1980, writing a critical analysis of media coverage for a journalism assignment, and in the three decades since it has remained one of the eeriest I've encountered. Now, with the sad death of "Timmy" White, who was just 5 when Parnell kidnapped him, it seems that no one escaped from Parnell's curse:
  • Parnell's older victim, Steven Stayner, who lived with Parnell for seven years, died in a motorcycle crash in 1989, eight years after he escaped with little Timmy.
  • Steven's brother, Cary, went on to become a serial rapist-killer of women in Yosemite National Park, crimes for which he is on San Quentin’s Death Row, awaiting eventual execution.
The wretched Parnell, meanwhile, died two years ago of natural causes. He was 76 and serving time for trying to pay his in-home caregiver in Berkeley to acquire a 4-year-old boy for him. That makes him the exception that proves the rule about sex offenders desisting in old age.

My 2008 blog post on Parnell's death is HERE, with links to more background on the case.
Photo: Timmy White gets a piggyback ride from Steven Stayner at a 1980 news conference.

Hat tip: Kathleen


Joe said...

When Parnell was arrested for trying to buy a 4 year old, I wondered if he wasn't actually just trying to go back into the system because he had run out of money for medical care and possibly even food. What would someone his age (who had people constantly looking in on him) DO with a 4 year old anyway?

CatCountry.biz said...

apparently this animal was ONLY JAILED for 7 years and served 5...since when was USA so liberal, particularly in certain states...he should have got life with no parole at least

Anonymous said...

U can't be serious with that question. Just can't be man. Nope. No way.

Anonymous said...

This scumbag got off easy. as Catcountry.biz stated he only served 5 years for the kidnappings of Timothy and Steve. I don't understand the criminal justice system because there is no justice. i hope he's rotting in Hell and being tormented as i type this.

Karen Franklin, Ph.D. said...

That was then, and this is now. The laws have swung to the other extreme, such that even one-time offenders who pose little to no risk to the public are being locked away for life. (See, for example, this case -- http://bit.ly/1ExxU20.) In today's courts, Parnell would never have served five years. Far from it.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree, I have to do a short paper on this assignment, and we have to remember that he was convicted during a time when the system was still progressing. I was thinking, while reading the case, how the guys were now... and it truly just broke my heart hearing that they are both died. :'( Both Steven, and Timothy are Heroes, and I hope they rest in paradise.

Anonymous said...

My family would have made him disappear....or worse... paralyzed him...he's burning in hell now!!hope he's suffering!!

MarlaMarla said...

Anonymous, 100% agree w you.