What Happened To The Kidnapped Child Steven Stayner Saved?

The three-part Hulu docu-series "Captive Audience," as well as the 1989 TV movie "I Know My Name is Steven," tell the harrowing story of Steven Stayner, who at the age of 14 escaped from his abductor, Kenneth Parnell, after seven years in captivity and after enduring a prolonged period of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse. Punctuating the story of Stayner's escape are further tragedies, such as Stayner's untimely death in a motorcycle accident at age 24, and the fact that his own older brother, Cary Stayner, was later convicted of murdering four women, as the The Press Democrat reports.

Perhaps somewhat lost in the story of Steven Stayner, though, is the fact that when he miraculously showed up at a police station in Ukiah, California after seven years missing, he had 5-year-old Timothy White by his side. White had only just been recently taken by Parnell, and Stayner committed himself to save the young boy from the ongoing nightmare that he, too, had experienced. Stayner knew what had happened to him, and he couldn't let it happen to anyone else, Stayner later said (via The Press Democrat).

Parnell enlisted another young boy to kidnap Timothy White

In the time that Stayner spent living with Parnell at several Northern California locations, he was presented as Parnell's son, and he went by Dennis Parnell. Kenneth Parnell did allow Steven to go to school, however, where the abducted young boy made some friends (via Good Housekeeping). When Stayner was 14 years old in 1980, Parnell perversely decided he would abduct another child. He turned to one of Stayner's seventh-grade friends to assist him. Parnell offered Stayner's young friend marijuana, money, and alcohol to grab Timothy White on his way home from school and throw him in Parnell's car, as The Press Democrat notes.

Once Parnell brought White into the home where Stayner was also kept captive, the teenage boy knew it was time to take action. Parnell also changed White's name from Timmy to Tommy and even dyed his hair from blonde to brown, as Nigel Cawthorne writes in his 2012 book "Against Their Will: Sadistic Kidnappers and the Courageous Stories of Their Innocent Victims." Stayner's first plan was to walk Timmy White back to his home in Ukiah and then return to Parnell's home by himself. When White could not remember his address, Stayner chose instead to take him to a nearby police station, after hitchhiking 40 miles into town. It was there, under police questioning, that Stayner revealed his true identity and explained what Parnell had done. 

Timothy White also died young

After White was returned to his family, Parnell was sentenced to seven years but paroled after five, as The Press Democrat also explains. A legal loophole prevented sexual charges be brought against Parnell (pictured above) at the time. The White family stayed in contact with the Stayners and Timothy White was a pallbearer at Steven Stayner's funeral when Stayner died in a hit-and-run motorcycle accident in 1989, as Cawthorne writes in "Against Their Will." White would end up one day married with two children. As an adult, he worked for a time as a contractor in Southern California before joining the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department in 2005.

In 2004, Parnell again was arrested for attempting to buy a four-year-old boy in Berkeley, California, and White also testified at that trial. For the crime, Parnell was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison under California's three-strikes policy. He died in prison from natural causes in 2008. Sadly, like Stayner, Timothy White would also die young, from a pulmonary embolism in 2010 at the age of 35, according to The Press Democrat. The New York Times reported that White was survived by his wife, Dena, and two children.

According to Decider, the three-part docu-series "Captive Audience" begins streaming on Hulu on April 21.