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The escape of two sexually abused boys


Steven hears these familiar words and quickly realizes it’s just a lie. Timothy’s sobbing cries torment Steven every day. He knew that this baby, and himself, had a family that was longing and worried. Steven tries to get home from school as early as possible, sometimes skipping school early to prevent the abuses Parnell does with Timothy.

Two weeks after the kidnapping, on the night of March 1, 1980, while Parnell was working as a night shift security guard at a building a few kilometers away, Steven gathered up the courage to carry the 5-year-old boy and run away.

Steven hitchhiked 60 km, back to Ukiah, California – Timothy’s home. But Timothy was too young to remember his parents’ addresses and names, so Steven looked up the address of the local police station and carried him there in the rain.

Steven places Timothy on the doorstep of the police station, tells him to go inside and tell the police his name and be taken home to his parents. Scared and not wanting Steven to leave, Timothy turned around and sobbed.

Steven (left) and timothy. Photo: good housekeeping

Steven (left) and Timothy. Image: Good Housekeeping

An officer at this time approached, brought the two inside to talk. In the end, Steven told the story of both. Early the next morning, Kenneth Parnell was arrested.

The police realized he had a criminal record but was never suspected because he never made it clear locally that his previous conviction was a sex offender. In the 1982 trial, Parnell was only sentenced to 7 years in prison and was pardoned after 5 years.

The later sentence regretted many judicial officials because he soon repeated the same behavior. In January 2003, at the age of 71, Parnell was arrested on charges of child trafficking and child molestation. February 2004. Parnell was sentenced to 25 years in prison without parole, dying in prison in 2008 of serious illness.

Kenneth parnell in court in 2003. Photo: modesto bee

Kenneth Parnell in court in 2003. Photo: Modesto Bee

As for the two boys, their later life has many twists and turns. Steven has become a “hero” in the media when he bravely escaped and rescued baby Timothy. But he also had difficulty adjusting to a normal family, as Parnell was trained to drink, curse and smoke throughout his childhood.

“I went back to my family almost as an adult man, but last saw my parents when I was 7 years old. Things were really awkward. But why doesn’t dad hug me anymore? Sometimes I blame myself. . Sometimes I don’t know if I should go home,” Steven confided in an interview.

Steven refuses to reveal all the details of the sexual abuse suffered from Parnell and only suffers in silence. Steven was bullied and teased by his classmates because of his story of sexual harassment. Eventually, Steven dropped out of school, drank regularly, and was eventually kicked out of the house. His relationship with his father became increasingly strained.

Trying to rebuild his life, Steven participates in sharing life skills and helping abuse victims, through his story. He found a job at a pizzeria and had his first love with a simple and kind girl, helping to gradually heal his wounds.

They got married in 1985 and have 2 children. But his happiness did not last. On September 16, 1989, Steven died at the age of 24 after a car accident.

A statue of two boys running hand in hand, was erected by residents in applegate park. Photo: paula slater

A statue of two boys running hand in hand, was erected by residents in Applegate Park. Image: Paula Slater

At Steven’s funeral, perhaps Timothy was the saddest, the boy was then 14 years old. Timothy grew up becoming a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy in 2005. He has attended many sessions teaching children about his experience and the dangers of being kidnapped. But he also died very young, at the age of 35, of lung congestion, in October 2010.

In the same year, locals decided to commemorate the two “boys” in Applegate Park in Merced City with a statue named after them. Teen hero – Teenage hero.

Hai Thu (Follow ATI, Crime and Investigation, Medium, People)

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