Steven Stayner, 24, Kidnaped as Boy, Dies in Motorcycle Crash

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From Associated Press

Steven Stayner, who as a child was kidnaped from his Merced home and held captive until he escaped seven years later, died Saturday in a motorcycle accident, a coroner’s spokesman said.

Stayner, 24, was pronounced dead at Merced Community Medical Center shortly after the 5:30 p.m. accident outside a meat company on Santa Fe Avenue between Merced and Atwater, a coroner’s spokesman said.

No other details were immediately available, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Stayner, the subject of an NBC miniseries in May, lived as the son of his abductor, Kenneth Parnell, a convicted child molester.


In 1972, at the age of 7, Stayner was kidnaped while walking home from school. When Stayner was 14, Parnell kidnaped another boy, 5-year-old Timmy White. Stayner later escaped, taking Timmy with him.

Parnell was convicted of two counts of kidnaping and sentenced to eight years and eight months in prison in February, 1982, after an 18-day trial in Hayward.

Stayner recently talked candidly with reporters of his life with Parnell, who alternately molested him and passed him off as his son. For seven years, as the two moved around Mendocino and Sonoma counties, Stayner was known as Dennis Parnell.

In 1985, Stayner married Jody Edmondson in Atwater, where the two were living with their two children at the time of his death.