A person generally commits the criminal offense of kidnapping by using force or other means of instilling fear to steal, take, hold, detain, abduct, or arrest a person and take them to another location. A person of any age may be a victim of kidnapping.
And a person generally commits the criminal offense of aggravated kidnapping if the person (1) uses force, fear, or fraud upon a victim who is a child under 14 years of age; (2) accompanies the kidnapping with a demand for ransom; (3) causes the victim to suffer serious bodily injury or death; (4) kidnaps a person during a carjacking; (5) uses the victim as a shield or hostage; or (6) exhibits or uses a deadly weapon during the course of the kidnapping.
Kidnapping laws vary from state to state, including definitions and affirmative defenses, such as whether the person taken is related to the kidnapper. Some states have child abduction laws that apply to the abduction of children by parents or relatives when the child is not moved a significant distance (out of county or state). Kidnapping laws are generally located in a state’s statutes—often in the penal or criminal code.