They're doing tributes to all the well known people who died this year. One name is missing, but he was part of a miracle that happened thirty years ago.
Timmy White was five years old on Valentine's Day, 1980. He got to walk home from school, like the big kids. Only there was someone watching him as he walked home. He got Timmy in his car, then took him to an isolated cabin in rural northern California.
It's a story that's been heard too often. However, this story turned itself around. For the man who kidnapped Timmy had kidnapped another little boy named Steven. And Steven saw Timmy and realized he had to do something. For years, he considered Kenneth Parnell "Dad." However, he knew something was not right.
On a mid winter night, when Parnell was working, Steven took Timmy and they navigated their way to Ukiah. According to Wikipedia, Steven wanted to take Timmy to his house, but Timmy didn't know it by heart. So they went to a police station, where an eagle-eyed police officer spotted them. Eventually, the truth came out, and in hours Timmy was reunited with his parents, Steven with his. It was before the Amber alert, before the internet, before children's faces graced milk cartons. It was two boys on a cold night, hoping against hope they wouldn't get caught by Kenneth Parnell.
Of course, this would be the perfect ending to the story. However, perfect endings are so rare. Steven struggled with being reunited with his family, and the fact Parnell sexually molested him. When Parnell was tried for kidnapping, he got three years. You read that right. Three years.
They made a movie about Steven, and he was finally happy. Married with two toddlers, he had a job delivering pizzas. One rainy afternoon in September 1989, he got off work and was off to see his wife for a dinner date. He never got there. He was killed by a hit and run driver. Five hundred people came to Steven's funeral. Tim White was one of them.
Fifteen years later, Kenneth Parnell was on trial again, this time for trying to "buy" a boy. This time Timothy White was the hero. He told the truth about Valentine's Day, 1980. When someone who knew Parnell apologized to Tim about what happened, Tim forgave the man. "I'm married now. I'm happy." Parnell got a life sentence and died in prison in 2008.
Timothy White was a highway patrolman who suffered a pulmonary embolism that killed him. Left behind a wife and two children. Although he outgrew the nickname, his obituaries referred to him as Timmy White.
He died way too young. There's no argument about that. However it could've been worse. And all he knew that cold winter night walking with Steven was he wanted to go home. Perhaps he wished on a star. It was a lucky star. Yet the star couldn't guarantee him old age.
Causes Jennifer Gibbons Supports
Gilda's Club, Greenpeace, Rosie's Broadway Kids,Westwind Foster Family Agency, Amber Brown Fund, Linda Duncan Fund for Contra Costa Libraries