The Lost Boy
In no time Steven could tell that Parnell was not driving toward his house, but he didn't panic. As a seven-year-old boy, he probably was enjoying the adventure of the ride through the mountains surrounding
Parnell brought Steven to his cabin near
Back at Parnell's remote cabin, as the days away from his family grew into weeks, Steven wanted to return home. He told Parnell that he was afraid that his parents would be angry about how long he'd been gone. He asked Parnell several times to take him home, but Parnell refused each time.
In the short time Steven had stayed with him, Parnell had learned about the boy's family life, including the fact that Steven had been punished by his parents the day before his abduction for some minor misbehavior. Using that information, and wanting the boy to stop asking to go back to Merced, Parnell finally told Steven that he had contacted his parents, and Del and Kay had said that they didn't want him back.
Steven became upset and confused. Parnell soon cemented this lie by telling Steven that he had gone to a judge and received full legal custody of the boy. Parnell proudly told young Steven that he was to call Parnell "Dad" and that from that day forward Steven would be known as "Dennis Parnell."