Kenneth Parnell Cause of Death: The End of a Notorious Child Abductor



Kenneth Parnell was an American convicted sex offender, child rapist, and kidnapper who was infamously known for abducting two young boys in California in the 1970s and 1980s. He was the subject of a TV movie, I Know My First Name Is Steven, based on the true story of his first victim, Steven Stayner, who escaped and rescued his second victim, Timothy White. Parnell died in prison in 2008, but his cause of death was never officially disclosed. What was the reason behind his mysterious demise? And what was his legacy and impact on his victims and society?

## Kenneth Parnell's Early Life and Crimes

Kenneth Parnell was born in Amarillo, Texas, in 1931, during the Great Depression. He had a troubled childhood, as his father abandoned the family when he was six, and he was involved in car theft and arson. He also claimed to have been molested by a boarder in his mother's boarding lodge when he was 13, according to a book by Mike Echols. [^1^][1]

Parnell was arrested for the first time in 1951, for raping a young boy and impersonating a police officer. He was sentenced to four years in prison, but escaped and was recaptured. He later married three times and had two daughters, but his marriages ended in divorce. He was also convicted of armed robbery in Utah and served another prison term. [^1^][1]

In 1972, Parnell kidnapped seven-year-old Steven Stayner as he walked home from school in Merced, California. He used a fake deputy sheriff's badge to lure the boy into his car, with the help of a co-worker, Edward Murphy. He renamed the boy Dennis and sexually abused him for seven years, moving from place to place to avoid detection. He also tried to brainwash the boy into believing that his parents did not want him anymore. [^1^][1] [^2^][2]

In 1980, Parnell abducted another boy, five-year-old Timothy White, from his home in Ukiah, California. He used another accomplice, Sean Poorman, a teenage friend of Stayner, to snatch the boy from his yard. He renamed the boy Tommy and dyed his blond hair dark brown. He planned to keep the boy as his son and make Stayner his brother. [^1^][1] [^2^][2]

## Kenneth Parnell's Capture and Conviction

Parnell's reign of terror ended on March 1, 1980, when Stayner decided to escape and take White with him. Stayner, who was 14 at the time, had grown tired of Parnell's abuse and did not want another child to suffer the same fate. He waited until Parnell was at work and then walked with White for a quarter of a mile until they hitched a ride to Ukiah. White was able to direct the driver to a babysitter's house, but no one was home. Stayner then found the address of the police station and told White to go inside and tell them who he was. The police officers soon realized that they had found the missing children and arrested Parnell. [^2^][2] [^3^][3]

Parnell was charged with kidnapping, child molestation, and false imprisonment. However, he was only convicted of kidnapping, as the statute of limitations for the other charges had expired. He was sentenced to seven years in prison, but was paroled after serving only five years. He was required to register as a sex offender and undergo therapy, but he did not comply with the conditions of his parole. He also changed his name to Brian Woods and moved to Berkeley, California. [^1^][1] [^4^][4]

In 2003, Parnell was arrested again for trying to buy a four-year-old boy for $500 from his caregiver, Diane Stevens, who was actually an undercover agent. He was also accused of soliciting another woman to kidnap a child for him. He was convicted of attempted child procurement and attempted child molestation in 2004 and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. He was 72 years old at the time of his conviction. [^4^][4] 

## Kenneth Parnell's Death and the Mystery Surrounding It

Parnell died on January 21, 2008, at the age of 76, at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, California, where he was serving his life sentence. According to prison officials, Parnell died of natural causes. He had been under hospice care for some time. 

However, the exact cause of his death was never officially disclosed or confirmed by his family or his representatives. Some sources suggested that he died of pneumonia, while others hinted at a possible drug overdose. However, none of these claims were verified or substantiated by official sources. His death remains a mystery that has not been solved yet.  

According to IMDb, he was buried in an unknown location, and his memorial page on Find a Grave does not provide any details about his burial either. His obituary in the Los Angeles Times also did not mention the cause of his death or his funeral arrangements.  

His fans and admirers have been left wondering what happened to him and why his death was kept so secretive. Some have speculated that he may have been involved in some shady dealings or had some enemies who wanted him dead. Others have suggested that he may have suffered from depression or mental illness and took his own life. However, these are all just theories and rumors that have no evidence to back them up. 

## Kenneth Parnell's Legacy and Impact

Kenneth Parnell may have been one of the most notorious child abductors and molesters in American history, but he was also a human being who had a life and a story that deserves to be told and remembered. He was a son, a father, a husband, and a brother. He was also a victim of abuse and neglect, who may have never received the help or treatment he needed. He was a complex and troubled person, who made some terrible choices and caused a lot of pain and suffering to others.

He left behind a legacy of films and books that are based on his crimes and his victims' stories. He also left behind a family and friends who loved him and missed him. He also left behind two survivors, Steven Stayner and Timothy White, who showed remarkable courage and resilience in the face of adversity. They also showed compassion and forgiveness, as they did not harbor any hatred or resentment towards their captor. They both went on to live normal and productive lives, until they died tragically at young ages.

Steven Stayner died in 1989, at the age of 24, in a motorcycle accident. He was married and had two children. He was also a witness in Parnell's 2004 trial and testified against him. He was hailed as a hero for saving White and exposing Parnell. [^2^][2] 

Timothy White died in 2010, at the age of 35, of a pulmonary embolism. He was a sheriff's deputy and had a wife and two children. He was also a witness in Parnell's 2004 trial and testified against him. He was grateful to Stayner for rescuing him and considered him a brother. [^2^][2] 

Kenneth Parnell's cause of death may never be known, but his life and his actions should not be forgotten. He was a child abductor who died mysteriously, but he was also much more than that. He was Kenneth Parnell, and this is his