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Who happened to Delbert Stayner after Steven Stayner got Kidnapped?

Who happened to Delbert Stayner after Steven Stayner got Kidnapped? 2

Who happened to Delbert Stayner after Steven Stayner got Kidnapped? 

Delbert Stayner is recognized as the father of Steven Stayner who got kidnapped for 7 years by Kenneth Parnell and his partner in crime Ervin Murphy in December 1972. Delbert’s health got affected after looking for his for a long period. The incident is well documented in Hulu’s documentary series “Captive Audience” 

Delbert Stayner Background

Delbert Stayner was born in May 1933 in New Mexico and relocated to Merced County, California, in 1951. Del then served as a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army for four years, until 1957. Three years later, he married Kay, and the couple had three daughters and two sons. But tragedy struck in December 1972, when Steven went missing on his way home from school.

Del spent a lot of time looking for anything that would lead him to his son in the years after he went missing. “I never stopped looking, every time I saw a crowd on TV or a picture of a lot of people in a magazine,” he later said. I always kept my eyes peeled in the hopes of spotting Steven.” Kay mentioned on the show that Del would frequently drive around looking for freshly dug ground because he assumed Steven was dead.

Delbert Stayner

Later, the family stated that the couple would pursue any new tip that came their way, with their children in tow. However, none of them came to fruition. Fortunately, Steven’s miraculous reappearance in 1980 resulted in a joyful reunion. However, his happiness was short-lived because he struggled to return to life with his family. Steven’s sister, Cory, later stated that their father did not believe he needed therapy or counseling. “I’ve been talking to reporters for nine years,” Steven said in an interview. It’s a suitable substitute.”

Cary, Steven’s older brother, confessed to murdering four women, including two teenagers, bringing the Stayners back into the spotlight. During the penalty phase, Del admitted to neglecting his children after Steven went missing, and he said of Cary, “I didn’t socialize with him. I yelled a lot at him.” Del was ordered to go to therapy for molestation of his daughters, according to another report.

How was Delbert Stayner son Steven Stayner kidnapped?

Stayner was approached on his way home from school on December 4, 1972, by a man named Ervin Edward Murphy, who had met convicted child rapist Kenneth Parnell while working at a resort in Yosemite National Park. Those who knew Murphy described him as a trusting, naive, and simple-minded man who had been enlisted by Parnell (who had disguised himself as an aspiring minister) to assist him in abducting a young boy so that Parnell could “raise him in a religious-type deal,” as Murphy later stated.


On Parnell’s orders, Murphy distributed gospel tracts to boys walking home from school that day[6][7] and, upon spotting Stayner, pretended to be a church representative seeking donations. Stayner later claimed that Murphy inquired about his mother’s willingness to donate items to the church. When the boy said she would, Murphy asked Stayner where he lived and if he would be willing to drive Murphy there.

After Stayner agreed, Parnell’s white Buick pulled up, and Stayner eagerly climbed into the car with Murphy. Instead, Parnell drove a perplexed Stayner to his cabin in nearby Catheys Valley. Stayner had no idea that Parnell’s cabin was only a few hundred feet away from his maternal grandfather’s house.

The first night at the cabin, Parnell molested Stayner.


On December 17, 1972, Parnell began raping Stayner thirteen days later. After Stayner repeatedly told Parnell that he wanted to go home during the first week, Parnell informed Stayner that he had been granted legal custody of the boy because his parents could not afford so many children and that they no longer wanted him.

When enrolling Stayner in various schools over the next several years, Parnell began calling him Dennis Gregory Parnell, retaining Stayner’s real middle name and birth date. Parnell pretended to be Stayner’s father, and the two moved around California frequently, living in places like Santa Rosa and Comptche. Stayner was allowed to start drinking at a young age and to come and go as he pleased. Parnell had also moved from menial job to menial job, with some of his work requiring travel and leaving Stayner unguarded, prompting an adult Stayner to remark that he could have easily used these absences as opportunities to flee, but was unaware of how to summon help.

Stayner’s life with Parnell had a few positive aspects, one of which was the dog he had received as a gift from him, a Manchester Terrier named Queenie. Stayner was given to Parnell by his mother, who was unaware of his existence during the time he was in Parnell’s care.


Barbara Mathias, a woman, lived with Parnell and Stayner for eighteen months. Stayner claims that Mathias and Parnell raped him nine times when he was nine years old. In 1975, on Parnell’s orders, Mathias attempted to entice another young boy, who was a member of the Santa Rosa Boys’ Club with Stayner, into Parnell’s car. The attempt was a failure. Mathias later claimed that he had no idea “Dennis” had been kidnapped.

How Did Delbert Stayner Pass Away?

Del struggled with depression and suicidal ideation in the aftermath of Steven’s disappearance. He, like Kay, pleaded with the jury in Cary’s trial not to sentence him to death. The jury, however, decided otherwise. Del worked at several sawmills after serving in the Army, and then moved on to work in the canning industry. He retired from a canning factory in Atwater, California, in 1995. Del died on April 9, 2013, at his home in Winton, California. He was 79 years old, and the cause of death has not been made public as far as we know.

Where is Kay Stayner now ?

Kay testified during the penalty phase of her son Cary’s triple murder trial in 2002. “If his dying [death] would bring these people back, I’d say do it,” she said, urging the jury not to sentence him to death. But executing him will not bring them back.” Kay also testified that her father molested her when she was younger. Kay has preferred to keep her personal life private since then, with the exception of the interview on ‘Captive Audience.’ Delbert died in April of 2013. According to what we know, Key spends her post-retirement life in California with her grandchildren and other loved ones.


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