Police Nets Convicted Molester
Jan. 04, 2003
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) _ A convicted child molester whose kidnapping of a boy was turned into a television movie was arrested Friday night after allegedly trying to buy a child, police said.
Lt. Dennis Ahearn, a spokesman for the Berkeley police department, said Kenneth Parnell was arrested after a tip.
``We became aware of the fact that Mr. Parnell was attempting to purchase a child through another party. We intervened in that purchase,'' Ahearn said. He said Parnell never received the child and that the other party had not been arrested.
Parnell's kidnapping of Steven Stayner was the subject of the book ``I Know My First Name is Steven'' and the 1989 TV movie of the same name.
He was convicted in the 1972 kidnapping of Stayner, who was then 7, and the 1980 kidnapping of a 5-year-old boy. He served five years in prison in the kidnappings.
Parnell had earlier been convicted of sexually abusing an 8-year-old boy he had abducted.
Parnell held Stayner for seven years before the boy escaped and was reunited with his family. The boy's brother, Cary Stayner, later killed four women at Yosemite National Park and was sentenced to death.
Parnell had kept his hold on Stayner by showering him with gifts and telling him his parents could no longer afford him. The boy was 14 when he finally went to police, bringing along the 5-year-old Parnell had kidnapped. Stayner said he didn't want the younger boy to suffer the same abuse.
Stayner testified at the trial that they lived in motels and trailer parks and that he was ordered to call Parnell ``Dad.''
Although Stayner said Parnell regularly sexually abused him, charges of child abuse against Parnell were dismissed in 1981 when a state appeals court said the statute of limitations had expired.
Stayner was killed in a motorcycle crash in 1989.