List of kidnappings

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Main article: Kidnapping

This is a list of kidnappings.

Famous kidnappings[edit]

Before 1900[edit]

DateVictim(s)Abductor(s)LocationAge of victim(s)OutcomeNotes
1754The Johnson familyAbenakiNew HampshireAge of the adults unknown, children ranged from 14 to 2.ReleasedThe Johnson family lived on a settlement in New Hampshire called No. 4. The members of the family who were kidnapped were Captain James Johnson and his wife Susannah, Susannah's 14-year-old sister, Miriam Willard, and James and Susannah's three children, 6-year-old Sylvanus, 4-year-old Susannah, and 2-year-old Mary "Polly." Susannah was also pregnant with a fourth child, who would be born during captivity. The family was originally kept in an Abenaki village, but most were sold to the French and moved to Montreal after a few months, with the exception of Sylvanus, who was adopted by the Abenaki. James was given two months to pay his family's ransom, but he did not return to Montreal in time and Susannah and her two youngest daughters were imprisoned, along with James when he arrived. Susannah gave birth in prison to her second son and fifth child, as well as her second to be born in captivity, but he died soon after birth.

After a year in prison, the three female Johnsons, and Miriam, who was not imprisoned with them, were all sent to England, leaving behind young Susannah in the care of three French women. James was killed in battle before seeing his wife and children again. Sylvanus was ransomed and sent back to his family at age 11, unable to speak any English. Young Susannah was sent back to her family at age 10 when the French surrendered Montreal to the British. Susannah Willard Johnson eventually remarried and wrote a book, A Narrative of the Captivity of Mrs. Johnson, about her family's kidnapping.

1758Mary JemisonSeneca warriorsAdams County, Pennsylvania, US12Stayed with abductorsJemison, a Caucasian child, was taken from her family by Seneca warriors. The only one not massacred in her family, Jemison was adopted into the Seneca tribe and lived the remainder of her life with them.
May 19, 1836Cynthia Ann ParkerComanchesFort Parker, Texas, US9Stayed with abductorsParker, a Caucasian child, was taken from her family by Comanches raiding their home in Fort Parker, Texas. She lived for 24 years among the Comanche and married a war chief, Peta Nocona. She gave birth to three children, including the last war chief of the Comanche, Quanah Parker.
June 23, 1858Edgardo MortaraPolice, ordered by Pope Pius IXBologna, Italy6Stayed with abductorsMortara, a Jewish child, was taken from his family by Pope Pius IX because a housekeeper had secretly baptized him. The child was never returned to his parents notwithstanding the humanitarian pleas of President Ulysses S. Grant, Emperor Franz Josef, and Napoleon III. At age 18 he became an Augustinian priest, taking the name Pius.
March 16, 1860Larcena Pennington and Mercedes Sais QuirozApachesCanoa Ranch, Arizona, US23 (Pennington)
10 (Quiroz)
Released (Pennington)
Released/rescued (Quiroz)
Pennington and her student Mercedes Sais Quiroz were abducted by Apaches. Later on in the day Pennington was left for dead in the wilderness. Quiroz was freed in exchange for Apache prisoners.
July 1, 1874Charles Brewster RossBill Mosher and Joe DouglasGermantown, Pennsylvania, US4UnknownCharley Ross was the first American to be kidnapped for ransom who received wide public attention. He and his brother, Walter, were taken by two men from their house under the pretense of buying fireworks. Walter was sent to a fireworks shop, during which time the men left with his brother. He was quickly found, but did not know where Charley was. The primary suspects were killed before they could be proved to be the kidnappers and Charley was never found.


DateVictim(s)Abductor(s)LocationAge of victim(s)OutcomeNotes
May 18, 1904Ion Perdicaris and Cromwell VarleyBandits sent by Mulai Ahmed er RaisuliTangier, Morocco64 (Perdicaris)ReleasedPerdicaris and his stepson Cromwell Varley were kidnapped by Mulai Ahmed er Raisuli causing US Secretary of State John Hay to declare "This government wants Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead." The two men were released alive when ransom demands were paid.
April 8, 1911Elsie ParoubekUnknownChicago, Illinois, US5MurderedParoubek was a Czech-American girl who disappeared while walking alone to her aunt's house (around the corner from where Elsie lived) in Chicago. Her body was found a month later in a drainage ditch. Several people, including Elsie's father and the police in charge of the investigation, believed gypsies (who had several camps in the area at the time) were involved.
August 23, 1912Bobby DunbarUnknownSt. Landry Parish, Louisiana, US4UnknownBobby Dunbar was a child who disappeared near Swayze Lake. After an eight-month nationwide search, investigators found a child, claimed by Bobby's parents as their son, in the hands of William Cantwell Walters of Mississippi, who was convicted of kidnapping. Walters told the police the boy was given to him by his mother, and his name was Charles Bruce Anderson. Julia Anderson, Bruce's mother backed him up. In 2004, further investigation by "Dunbar's" granddaughter led to conclusive DNA proof that the child in Walters' custody was not the Dunbars' son and that the Walters had been wrongfully convicted, meaning the boy was, in fact, Charles Bruce Anderson.
December 15, 1927Marion ParkerWilliam HickmanLos Angeles, California, US12MurderedParker, the daughter of a Los Angeles banker, was kidnapped and killed by William Hickman. A few days after being paid a small ransom, Hickman was arrested and tried. On 19 October 1928, Hickman was executed for his crime.
March 1, 1932Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr.Bruno Richard HauptmannEast Amwell Township, New Jersey, US1MurderedCharles was the son of famous American aviator, Charles Lindbergh. Dubbed "The Crime of the Century", on 1 March, the child was 20 months old when he was taken from his crib in his home. After a ransom negotiations were unsuccessful, the child's remains were found by a passing truck driver on 12 May. Hauptmann was convicted of the crime on 13 February 1935, and was sentenced to death, and was electrocuted on 3 April 1936. Congress passed the "Lindbergh Law", formally known as "The Federal Kidnapping Act of 1932", on 13 June 1932. The law was created to allow federal authorities step in and pursue kidnappers once they had crossed state lines with their victim.
May 15, 1930Mary Agnes MoroneyUnknownChicago, Illinois, US2UnknownMoroney was taken from her home by a woman who identified herself as "Julia Otis" and claimed to have been sent by a social worker. Her kidnapping is the oldest unsolved case of this nature in the files of the Chicago Missing Persons Bureau.
May 27, 1933Mary McElroyGeorge McGee, Walter McGee, Clarence Click, and Clarence StevensKansas City, Missouri, US25ReleasedMcElroy, the daughter of City Manager Henry McElroy of Kansas City, was kidnapped and held for ransom. She was released unharmed after the ransom was paid and the four kidnappers were later apprehended and given life sentences.
November 9, 1933Brooke HartThomas Harold Thurmond and John M. HolmesSan Jose, California, US22MurderedHart, the son of a San Jose, California businessman, was kidnapped and murdered thereafter. His kidnappers were lynched by a mob.
April 25, 1934June RoblesUnknownTucson, Arizona, US6Released/rescuedRobles was abducted and held for ransom. After negotiations between her parents and her captors, Robles was found unharmed on a highway after nineteen days in captivity. Only one arrest was made in connection with her abduction.
December 12, 1936Chiang Kai ShekZhang XueliangXi'an, China49ReleasedChiang Kai Shek, Leader of China, was kidnapped by a warlord in an affair known as the Xi'an Incident.
December 27, 1936Charles MattsonUnknownTacoma, Washington, US10MurderedMattson was abducted from his home and held for $28,000. He was found dead in January, 1937.
September 22, 1937Evgeny MillerNikolai Skoblin and NKVD officersParis, France69MurderedMiller, an anti-bolshevik Russian general was kidnapped by NKVD agents. The NKVD successfully smuggled General Miller back to Moscow, Russia where he was tortured and subsequently shot nineteen months later, in 1939.


DateVictim(s)Abductor(s)LocationAge of victim(s)OutcomeNotes
1950-South Koreans abducted by North KoreansAgents and soldiersSouth KoreaApproximately 84,532 South Koreans were taken to North Korea during the Korean War. Since the war ended in 1953, about 3,800 people have been abducted.
September 28, 1953Robert "Bobby" Cosgrove Greenlease, Jr.Bonnie Heady and Carl A. HallKansas City, Missouri, US6MurderedGreenlease was kidnapped and immediately murdered. The murderers demanded and were paid a $600,000 ransom by the boy's father, a wealthy automobile dealer. Notable in the case was that more than half of the ransom money was stolen by a corrupt police officer and never recovered.
July 4, 1956Peter WeinbergerAngelo LaMarcaWestbury, New York, US1 monthReleased/diedLaMarca took the baby from his home for a $2,000 ransom. LaMarca told investigators he went to the first drop site the day after the kidnapping – with the baby in the car – but he was scared away by all of the press and police in the area. He drove away, abandoned the baby alive in some heavy brush just off a highway exit, and went home. A search of the area by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents and Nassau County Police Department ensued.[citation needed] An FBI agent spotted a diaper pin – then the decomposed remains of Peter Weinberger. The Weinberger case also resulted in new legislation – signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower — which reduced the FBI's waiting period in kidnapping cases from 7 days to 24 hours.[citation needed] LaMarca was executed in the electric chair on 7 August 1958.
July 7, 1960Graeme ThorneStephen Leslie BradleyNew South Wales, Australia8MurderedGraeme's parents, Basil and Freda Thorne, won the £100,000 Opera House Lottery (at that time, the names of winners were published). Five weeks later Stephen Leslie Bradley abducted Graeme and demanded a ransom. Thorne was killed and dumped, the partially decomposed body being discovered on 16 August. The case led to tighter rules about the publication of the names of lottery winners.
1970s–1980sJapanese abducted by North KoreansGovernment agentsJapan17 Japanese people are officially recognized as having been abducted but there are up to hundreds of possible cases.
October 5, 1970James Cross and Pierre LaporteFront de libération du Québec militantsQuebec, Canada49Released (Cross)
Murdered (Laporte)
Cross was a British diplomat and Laporte was Quebec provincial politician. Their kidnappings set off the 1970 October Crisis. Cross was released in exchange for passage of his abductors to Cuba.
1972–1985"The Disappeared"IRA and INLANorthern IrelandMurderedSeamus Wright, Kevin McKee, Jean McConville, Joseph Lynskey, Peter Wilson, Eamon Molloy, Columba McVeigh, Brendan McGraw, John McClory, Brian McKinney, Danny McIlhone, Gerard Evans, Charlie Armstrong and Seamus Ruddy were a group of both civilians and Irish republican volunteers who were kidnapped, possibly tortured, and murdered by the IRA and INLA during Northern Ireland's "Troubles" for being alleged spies, informants, thieves, etc. Their bodies were not recovered until 8 of the corpses or remains were eventually located and returned to their families for burial. Another man who disappeared during this time was Robert Nairac, a British SAS officer whose identity was uncovered.
December 4, 1972Steven StaynerKenneth Parnell and Ervin Edward MurphyMerced, California, US7EscapedStayner was kidnapped on his way home from school. He was raised as Parnell's son for 7 years until Parnell abducted another child, Timmy White, in 1980. The two boys escaped on March 1, 1980. At the time of Steven's return, it was the longest known kidnapping in America that ended in a safe return.
January 16, 1973Anna Christian WatersUnknownHalf Moon Bay, California, US5UnknownWaters disappeared from her backyard; presumed abducted by her father but never found.
December 27, 1973Thomas NiedermayerProvisional IRABelfast, Northern Ireland45MurderedNiedermayer was a German national and the manager of a Grundig factory in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. He died shortly after being abducted by the IRA from his home in Belfast and his remains were eventually found, buried in an embankment near Belfast, on 11 March 1980.
1975Suzanne Marie SevakigFranklin Delano FloydNorth Carolina5Raised by kidnapper, later murderedA woman going by the name of Sharon Marshall was murdered in 1990 in her early 20s. It was discovered following her death that her husband, who was much older, actually raised her from an early age. DNA testing determined they were not biological relatives. He gave inconsistent stories regarding how she came to be in his custody. Floyd is the prime suspect in the death of Marshall. Marshall's true identity remained a mystery until 2014, when DNA testing confirmed that Sharon Marshall was Suzanne Marie Sevakig. Floyd was married to Sevakig's mother when she was sentenced to 30 days in jail for a minor crime. He was left to care for her four children while she was incarcerated. After she was released, she found that the children and Floyd had disappeared. She found two children in the care of the local social services where he left them, but Suzanne and her younger brother were never found and the boy's fate remains unknown. The mother attempted to file kidnapping charges but the local police declined, telling her that the child's stepfather had parental rights over the children.[1]
February 4, 1974Patty HearstSymbionese Liberation ArmyBerkeley, California, US19Stayed with abductors until arrestedHearst, an heiress to the Hearst Corporation mass media fortune, was kidnapped from her apartment by a left-wing guerilla group. She announced her allegiance to the group in April 1974, and on April 15, 1974 took part in a bank robbery. She is thought to have been a victim of Stockholm Syndrome.[2] Captured by the FBI in September 1975, Hearst was sentenced to 35 years in prison for bank robbery. She served 22 months and was released from prison on February 1, 1979. President Bill Clinton granted her a full pardon on January 20, 2001.
January 14, 1975Lesley WhittleDonald NeilsonHighley, England17MurderedWhittle was an heiress kidnapped from her home by Neilson, also known as the "Black Panther". Whittle's body was later found on 7 March 1975 hanging from a wire in a drain shaft in Bathpool Park, Staffordshire. Neilson was captured and convicted, and died in December 2011 while serving life in prison.[3]
February 27, 1975Peter LorenzMovement 2 JuneWest Berlin, Germany52ReleasedLorenz, German conservative politician and candidate for the mayor of West-Berlin, was kidnapped only days before the elections. Lorenz was released unharmed after a week in exchange for five imprisoned leftist extremists, who were flown out to South Yemen. He won the majority of the votes while in captivity.
March 25, 1975Katherine and Sheila LyonUnknownWheaton, MarylandKatherine-10, Sheila-12UnknownThe Lyon sisters were at Wheaton Plaza mall together not far from their home when they disappeared without a trace. Their brother and other people they knew had seen them eating at a restaurant in the mall, and one boy said he saw them speaking to an unknown man and talking into a recorder he was carrying. Another man who would later be convicted of rape was seen paying attention the sisters. They were never found.
May 19, 1977Colleen StanCameron HookerRed Bluff, California, US20EscapedStan was kidnapped by Hooker while hitchhiking. She was tortured and sexually abused over 7 years until Hooker's wife, Janice, helped her escape in 1984.
June 12, 1977Oklahoma girl scout murdersUnknownMayes County, Oklahoma, US8-10MurderedThe Oklahoma Girl Scout murders is an unresolved crime that occurred at Camp Scott. The victims were three Girl Scouts, who were raped and murdered and their bodies left in the woods near their tent at summer camp. Although the case was classified as "solved" when Gene Leroy Hart, a local jail escapee with a history of violence was arrested, and stood trial for the crime, he was acquitted. 30 years later authorities conducted new DNA testing, but the results of these proved inconclusive, as the samples were too old.
September 5, 1977Hanns-Martin SchleyerBrigitte Mohnhaupt and the Red Army FactionCologne, Germany62MurderedSchleyer, a German manager, was kidnapped by the extreme-left militant organisation Red Army Faction, carried out by Mohnhaupt. He was hidden in a high-rise in Erftstadt. After the imprisoned RAF members were found dead in their prison cells in Stammheim Prison, he was killed on October 18, 1977. His body was found in a car in Mulhouse.
March 16, 1978Aldo MoroRed BrigadesRome, Italy61MurderedMoro, former Italian Prime Minister, was captured by a Marxist-Leninist urban guerilla organization and killed almost two months later.
April 25, 1978Lee Kim LaiOng Chin Hock, Yeo Ching Boon and Ong Hwee KuanMount Vernon, Singapore18MurderedKim Lai was a police officer who was kidnapped from a sentry post and killed for his gun.
May 25, 1979Etan PatzUnknownNew York City, US6Unknown (declared legally dead)Etan walked to the school bus stop by himself, but did not arrive at school. The search for him brought attention to child abduction in the United States and he was the first missing person to be pictured on a milk carton. The anniversary of his disappearance is International Missing Children's Day. Pedro Hernandez is on trial for murdering Etan, which began on January 5, 2015.


DateVictim(s)Abductor(s)LocationAge of victim(s)OutcomeNotes
February 14, 1980Timmy WhiteKenneth ParnellUkiah, California, US5Escaped/rescuedWhite was abducted by Parnell who had previously abducted Steven Stayner 7 years earlier. Stayner helped White escape on March 1, 1980.
1981Bryon Anthony "Bizzy Bone" McCane IIByron McCaneColumbus, Ohio, US5RescuedMcCane was kidnapped by his stepfather and was led to believe that his grandmother and mother were dead. He didn't reunite with his mother until a neighbor from the reservation in Oklahoma where he was living recognized his picture from a photo shown at the end of the 1983 movie, Adam. McCane later grew up to become a famous rap artist.
July 27, 1981Adam WalshOttis TooleHollywood, Florida, US6MurderedWalsh was abducted from a Sears department store at the Hollywood Mall and was later found murdered. His father, John Walsh, later became the host of America's Most Wanted.
December 17, 1981James Lee DozierRed BrigadesVerona, Italy50RescuedDozier was a US general working for NATO in Italy. He and his wife were kidnapped by a Marxist terrorist group and freed by a NOCS commando on 28 January 1982.
December 18, 1981Nina von GallwitzUnknownCologne, Germany8Releasedvon Gallwitz was kidnapped on her way to school. Her parents paid a ransom of 1.5 million German marks and she was freed on 15 May 1982 at a rest area called Ohligser Heide, after 149 days.
July 6, 1983Tammy Lynn LeppertUnknownRockledge, Florida, US18UnknownLeppart was a former child actress and model who disappeared in unknown circumstances.
July 19, 1984Edith RosenkranzGlenn I Wright and Dennis MossWashington, D.C., USReleasedEdith, wife of Dr. George Rosenkranz, a wealthy Mexico City businessman, was kidnapped at gunpoint from the Washington-Sheraton Hotel during an American Contract Bridge League national tournament. She was returned unharmed two days later after her husband paid a ransom of USD $1,000,000. The ransom money was later recovered and the two kidnappers were later convicted and sentenced, as was a third defendant, Orland D. Tolden.[4]
February 7, 1985Enrique CamarenaUnknownLa Angostura, Mexico37MurderedCamarena, a Mexican American DEA official, was abducted by drug lords and tortured. He was found dead on March 5, 1985.
April 6, 1986Anthonette CayeditoUnknownGallup, New Mexico, US9UnknownCayedito was kidnapped from her home. She was profiled on Unsolved Mysteries a few years after her disappearance. It is believed that she phoned 911 a year after her kidnapping in a desperate attempt to be rescued. She may have also been seen by a waitress in Las Vegas a few years later. The girl has never been located.[citation needed]
September 30, 1986Mordechai VanunuMossadRome, Italy31ReleasedVanunu, an Israeli nuclear whistleblower, was lured to Italy from London,[5] where he was abducted by Mossad and brought back to Israel, where he was convicted of treason and espionage. He served 18 years in prison, eleven of which were in solitary confinement.
August 4, 1987Carlina WhiteAnnugetta "Ann" PettwayNew York City, US19 daysEscapedWhite was taken from Harlem Hospital Center as an infant and raised by Pettway. She was reunited with her family in January 2011, 23 years later, in the longest known non-parental abduction.
September 9, 1987Gerrit Jan HeijnFerdi ElsasBloemendaal, Netherlands56MurderedHeijn was a Dutch businessman; the top executive of Ahold, Holland's largest retailer. He was killed shortly after his abduction. Elsas pretended the victim was still alive and received a ransom. He was caught after spending one of the banknotes of the ransom, whose numbers had been recorded. He was released in 2001 after serving a prison sentence but was killed in a road accident.[citation needed]
September 20, 1988Tara CalicoUnknownBelen, New Mexico, US19UnknownCalico disappeared near her home after taking her usual bike ride. Several witnesses claimed she was being followed by a 1953-54 Ford Pickup and was never heard from again. No sign of Tara was found until On 15 June 1989 when a woman found a Polaroid photo of an unidentified young girl and boy, both bound and gagged, in the parking lot of a convenience store in Port St. Joe, Florida. The girl in the Polaroid is believed to be Tara, but this has not been confirmed. Two other Polaroid photographs, possibly of Tara, have surfaced over the years, but have yet to be released to the public. It is unclear whether Tara Calico is still alive.[citation needed]
November 19, 1988Michaela GarechtUnknownHayward, California, US9UnknownGarecht was abducted by a Caucasian male thought to be about 18–24 years old. Michaela rode to a small neighborhood market on her scooter with her best friend to get treats. When Garecht tried to grab her scooter a man forced her into his car. Neither Michaela or the abductor have been seen or heard from since.
January 14, 1989Paul Vanden BoeynantsPatrick Haemers and a gangBelgium69ReleasedVanden Boeynants, a Belgian politician, was released one month after his abduction when a ransom was paid.
October 22, 1989Jacob WetterlingUnknownSt. Joseph, Minnesota, US11UnknownWetterling was kidnapped on his way home by a masked gunman. His case has remained unsolved.


DateVictim(s)Abductor(s)LocationAge of victim(s)OutcomeNotes
April 2, 1990Humberto Álvarez MachaínBounty huntersMexicoReleasedAlvarez-Machain, a suspect in the murder of Enrique Camarena, was kidnapped, allegedly by Americans to bring him to trial in the United States.
November 13, 1990Sano FusakoNobuyuki SatōNiigata, Japan10RescuedFusako was abducted after a baseball game and held captive for slightly over nine years. She was found alive on 28 January 2000.
June 10, 1991Jaycee Lee DugardPhillip Garrido and Nancy GarridoSouth Lake Tahoe, California, US11RescuedDugard was kidnapped from a bus stop and held captive for 18 years. She was found alive by suspicious parole officers on August 26, 2009. During captivity she gave birth to two children.
July 24, 1991Ben NeedhamUnknownKos, Greece1UnknownNeedham was a British child who disappeared on holiday. It is presumed he was abducted and sold for illegal adoption.
September 11, 1991Carrie LawsonJerry BlandJasper, Alabama, US25MurderedLawson was a young lawyer kidnapped in an infamously bungled case in FBI history. A ransom demand of $300,000 was made, which was paid by the family. The FBI inserted tracking devices in the money bag and on the delivery person, but both were on the same frequency and the FBI tracked the delivery person, leaving the money drop by mistake. After later getting a break in the case, the FBI went to the home of suspect Jerry Bland, who refused entry, and while retrieving a search warrant left in the car, the suspect retreated inside and shot himself, taking any information on her whereabouts to his grave. Neither she nor her remains were ever found. The ransom money was mostly recovered from the suspect's attic and vehicle.[6]
May 26, 1992Prince Pedro Thiago of Orléans-BraganzaPetrópolis, Brazil13RescuedThiago was kidnapped on his way to school. He was rescued by police a week later from the house in a Rio de Janeiro suburb where he was being held.[7]
December 28, 1992Katie BeersJohn EspositoLong Island, New York, US9Released/rescuedTwo days before her tenth birthday, Beers was lured into the home of John Esposito, a friend of her family. She was held captive inside a concrete bunker underneath Esposito's garage. Esposito falsely claimed that Beers was kidnapped by a third party in an amusement park, but 17 days after the abduction, he took police to where he was holding her.
February 12, 1993James BulgerRobert Thompson and Jon VenablesMerseyside, England2MurderedBulger was abducted from a Merseyside shopping centre by a pair of ten-year-old boys. Later on in the day the two boys tortured Bulger to death and left his body on a train line.
August 18, 1993Sara Ann WoodLewis LentFrankfort, New York, US12MurderedWood disappeared on a quiet road near her home. Lent, a janitor from Massachusetts, confessed to kidnapping, sexually assaulting, and killing Sara, but he refused to say where he buried her body. Lent had also pled guilty to the 1990 kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old Pittsfield, Massachusetts, native Jimmy Bernardo. Lent abducted Jimmy from the Pittsfield movie theater where Lent worked as a janitor. He was sentenced to life without parole for the Bernardo murder and sentenced to 25-years-to-life for the Wood murder. He is in prison in Massachusetts. Lent is suspected in a number of other child kidnapping cases. Lent recanted his confession and refuses to disclose the location of Sara's body. Lent has said that he can't say where her body is because she is not buried alone.
October 1, 1993Polly KlaasRichard Allen DavisPetaluma, California12MurderedKlaas was kidnapped from her home and later strangled. Davis's car got stuck in the mud a few miles from Polly's house. A local police officer pulled him out of the mud but did not query his license number with the police computer system, nor did he hear the BOLO (be on the lookout) broadcast to all CHP radios reporting that Davis was wanted for a parole violation. Davis has been convicted of kidnapping and first-degree murder and sentenced to death. BOLOs are now broadcast to all police radios: state, county, and municipal.
June 30, 1994Crystal Ann TymichUnknownLos Angeles, California6UnknownTymich was last seen playing near her house, wearing a pink T-shirt, floral shorts, and white Little Mermaid sneakers. She had been picking peaches with her three brothers, but they went inside and she was gone when they came back out to bring her home. None of the neighbors saw anything unusual. Images of Crystal are available here
September 12, 1994Michael Anthony HughesFranklin Delano FloydChoctaw, Oklahoma, US6unknownHughes was abducted from his elementary school by his step-father, Franklin Delano Floyd. Two months later, Floyd was arrested in Kentucky, but the boy was not with him. He has given inconsistent statements regarding the boy's whereabouts, but Hughes was never located. It was later discovered that Hughes' mother, Sharon Marshall, was not only Floyd's wife, but was actually raised by Floyd from an early age and is assumed to be a childhood kidnapping victim herself. She died when Hughes was two years old. Floyd is the prime suspect in her murder as well.
August 14, 1994Jameika PorchUnknownChattanooga, Tennessee, US4MurderedPorch was abducted from her bedroom at her grandmothers home. Her remains were discovered in 2000 and it was determined that she was strangled by ligature shortly after she vanished.
August 17, 1994Mindy TranUnknownKelowna, British Columbia, Canada8MurderedTran disappeared from her neighbourhood just after supper. She rode her bike down her quiet street and vanished. Hundreds of people searched for the girl but her body wasn't found until six weeks later when a man with a divining rod led police to a shallow grave near her parents' home. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled.
June 9, 1995Morgan NickUnknownAlma, Arkansas, US6UnknownNick was at a baseball game with her mother. She was last seen at her car after catching fireflies with her friends, and she was also seen talking to a man who police believe was her abductor. She has not been found; her mother started a foundation to help families with missing children.
September 16, 1995Jessyca MullenburgSteven OliverEau Claire, Wisconsin, US13RescuedOliver had first met Mullenberg when he was an aide at her school and became obsessed with her. He followed Mullenburg and her father as they moved to two locations in Wisconsin and eventually moved across the street from the Mullenbergs in Eau Claire. Oliver told Mullenburg that a publisher was interested in a story that she wrote; she agreed to go with Oliver in his car. Mullenberg dozed off in the car and, when she awoke, her feet and hands were bound. After an eight-hour drive to Kansas City, Mullenberg and Oliver boarded a plane to Houston, where she spent the majority of her three-and-a-half-month captivity in a motel room. Mullenberg says that physical, sexual and mental abuse were common. Within weeks, Oliver had convinced Mullenberg that her parents didn't want to get her back and didn't love her. Mullenberg says she became so completely disconnected from reality that she remembered very little from her past. A chance viewing of America's Most Wanted on television confirmed the manager's suspicions that Oliver was up to something. Immediately after recognizing Oliver's photo on the show, calls were placed to law enforcement and the FBI. Authorities who raced to the hotel knew who Mullenberg was but, after months in captivity, she did not. Only after authorities showed Mullenberg pictures from her past did she come back to reality.
January 13, 1996Amber HagermanUnknownArlington, Texas, US9MurderedHagerman was kidnapped while riding her bike near her grandparents' home. She was found four days later by a hiker and his dog, naked in a creek bed. An autopsy revealed she had been alive two days, was raped and then her throat was slit. Although a $75,000 reward was offered for information leading to Amber's killer, he was never found.[8] The task force investigating Amber's murder was dissolved in June 1997.[9] Her murder inspired the creation of the AMBER Alert system.
May 17, 1996Le-Zhan WilliamsLatasha Ann BrownVallejo, California3 weeksRescuedBaby Le-Zhan's mother, Daphne Boyden, was shot and her house was burned down, with no sign of her son. He was found six years later living as the son of Latasha Brown. His father, rapper Young Lay, was serving a prison sentence when his son was found.
May 28, 1996Sabine DardenneMarc DutrouxBelgium12RescuedDardenne was kidnapped and raped by Dutroux, a serial killer, while on her way to school. She was rescued after 80 days, on 15 August 1996, with 14-year-old Laetitia Delhez, who had also been kidnapped.
August 9, 1996Laetitia Delhez (nl)Marc DutrouxBelgium14RescuedDutroux kidnapped Delhez after another victim, Sabine Dardenne, had requested a companion because she felt so alone. They were rescued on 15 August 1996.
October 1, 1996Jakub FiszmanRainer Körppen and Sven KörppenEschborn, Germany40MurderedFiszman, a millionaire, was held for ransom. He was killed by his kidnappers even though the ransom for him was paid. The perpetrators were arrested on October 19 and received long prison sentences.
June 3, 1997Shannon VerhageMarvin GabrionCedar Springs, Michigan11 monthsUnknownShannon and her mother, Rachel Timmerman, were last seen leaving on a date with an unknown coworker of Timmerman. The coworker was later linked to a man named Marvin Gabrion, who Rachel was preparing to testify against him for raping her the previous year. Rachel's body was later found floating in Oxford lake. Gabrion is on death row for the murder. Shannon has never been found.
September 30, 1997Walter KwokCheung Chi KeungHong Kong47ReleasedKwok was kidnapped by the notorious gangster "Big Spender" Cheung Chi Keung[10] and was released seven days later without police intervention. Following his arrest in Guangzhou in 1998, Cheung confessed that he had put Kwok in a wooden container blindfolded for four days and fed him regular meals of roast pork with rice, until the ransom of some HK$600 million was paid.[11]
December 15, 1997Delimar Vera CuevasCarolyn CorreaFrankford, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US10 daysRescuedCuevas was a baby when she was thought to have been killed in a fire. Six years later, her mother discovered her at a birthday party. After DNA tests confirmed that the child was indeed her own, the kidnapper went on the run leaving behind three more children.[12]
March 2, 1998Natascha KampuschWolfgang PřiklopilVienna, Austria10EscapedKampusch was abducted on her way to school and held in a secret cellar by her kidnapper for more than eight years. She escaped aged 18 on August 23, 2006.
April 12, 1999Leszli KálliGuerrillasColombiaReleasedKálli was abducted by virtue of the hijacking of the plane she was on. She was held for slightly more than a year by Colombian leftist guerrillas with her father and the other passengers. She published a novel about her experiences.
May 3, 1999Hans van de KimmenadeFour unknown menHelmond, Netherlands18ReleasedA group of at least four armed (allegedly Arabian) men kidnapped van de Kimmenade, son of wealthy industrialists, from his estate. After the case received much media attention, Van de Kimmenade was dropped off at a waterschap within 48 hours. No reason was given for his release. After months of research, the case appeared unsolvable.
May 17, 1999Andria Nichole BrewerKarl RobertsArkansas, US12MurderedRoberts, 35, was convicted in May 2000 by a Polk County Circuit Court jury of capital murder in the May 17, 1999, rape and strangling of Brewer, his niece.
July 7, 1999Rolandito Salas JusinoUnknownToa Alta, Puerto Rico4UnknownJusino was playing, allegedly unsupervised, in a community park next to his house's backyard.[13] He was never found.
October 12, 1999Pamela ButlerKeith NelsonKansas City, US10MurderedButler was rollerblading in front of her house when she was kidnapped by Nelson. He took her across the state line from Kansas into Grain Valley, Missouri, to a church. There he took her into a wooded area, where he raped and strangled Butler with some speaker wire. Nelson was arrested two days later near the Kansas River, and Butler's body was recovered the following day. Nelson was found guilty and sentenced to death by lethal injection in a federal facility.


DateVictim(s)Abductor(s)LocationAge of victim(s)OutcomeNotes
July 1, 2000Sarah PayneRoy WhitingWest Sussex, England8MurderedPayne was kidnapped and murdered soon afterwards by Whiting. The subsequent investigation became a high profile murder case in the United Kingdom. Following his conviction, Whiting was imprisoned for life and is currently being held in the maximum security Wakefield prison, West Yorkshire.
April 6, 2001Anne SlutiAnthony Steven "Tony Zappa" WrightKearney, Nebraska, US17Released/rescuedSluti was kidnapped from a mall parking lot in April 2001, taken out of state, and raped for six days before Wright surrendered to police.
February 1, 2002Danielle van DamDavid WesterfieldSabre Springs, San Diego, California, US7MurderedVan Dam was abducted from her bed the night of February 1–2; her body was found three weeks later in a remote area. Westerfield, a neighbor, was convicted of kidnapping and first degree murder, and sentenced to death for the crime. He is currently incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison.
February 23, 2002Íngrid BetancourtRevolutionary Armed Forces of ColombiaColombia40RescuedBetancourt, a presidential candidate, was kidnapped and held captive until 2008.
June 5, 2002Elizabeth SmartBrian David MitchellSalt Lake City, Utah, US14RescuedSmart was kidnapped from her bedroom on and was found alive nine months later in a suburb of Salt Lake City on 12 March 2003.
July 15, 2002Samantha RunnionAlejandro AvilaStanton, California, US5MurderedRunnion was kidnapped from the front yard of her home. Her body was found one day later in Cleveland National Forest. Avila is currently incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison in California.
July 22, 2002Erica PrattEdward Johnson and James BurnsPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, US7EscapedPratt was forced into a car from a street. She escaped by gnawing through duct tape used to keep her bound and by smashing a window.
August 12, 2002Arjan ErkelThree gunmenMakhachkala, Russia32ReleasedErkel was a medical aid worker for Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières) when he was kidnapped. Twenty months later he was released after the Dutch government paid a ransom of €1,000,000.
August 22, 2002Michelle KnightAriel CastroCleveland, Ohio, US21RescuedKnight was last seen when she left her cousin's house. Knight, along with Amanda Berry, a child of Amanda Berry born in captivity, and Gina DeJesus were found alive and in reasonable health within 3 miles of the site of their disappearances on May 6, 2013.
October 6, 2002Shawn HornbeckMichael J. DevlinRichwoods, Missouri, US11RescuedHornbeck was kidnapped while riding his bicycle near his home. He was sexually assaulted and tortured by his kidnapper, Michael Devlin, eventually promising the man to not run away in exchange for Devlin keeping him alive. Shawn was given a large amount of freedom, telling neighbors he was being home-schooled. After four years, Devlin was losing sexual interest in him, and so kidnapped another boy, William "Ben" Ownby with Shawn in the car to keep him quiet. The police investigated Devlin and spoke to Shawn, but the teenager gave his name as Shawn Wilcox and claimed to be only staying with Devlin while his dad was on a business trip. The next day, the police spoke to Devlin again, telling him they were going to check Devlin's pick-up's tires against tracks found at the scene of Ben's kidnapping. Devlin then admitted that he had both Shawn and Ben in his apartment, alive. When Shawn was asked his name again without Devlin in the room, he told the police he was Shawn Hornbeck.
November 11, 2002Samantha Nicole BurnsUnknownHuntington, West Virginia, US19UnknownBurns, a student of Marshall Community and Technical College Physical Therapy Program was abducted at the Marshall University Court Yard Apartments. She was last heard from by her mother at 9:45pm and her car was discovered burning around the Cabell/Wayne County lines at 3:30am on November 12, 2002. She has not been seen or heard from since, is presumed dead and no remains have been recovered. South Carolina Death Row inmates Chadwick E. Fulks and Branden L. Basham claim responsibility for the disappearance of Burns. At that time they were escapees of another correctional facility. They have yet to provide enough credible details that lead to Burns's whereabouts.
April 21, 2003Amanda BerryAriel CastroCleveland, Ohio, US16EscapedBerry was abducted one day before her 17th birthday. During captivity, Berry gave birth to a daughter. Just over 10 years later, on May 6, 2013, Berry escaped along with Michelle Knight, Gina DeJesus and Berry's daughter. They were in reasonable health and within 3 miles of the site of their disappearances.
December 7, 2003Daniel MorcombeBrett Peter CowanSunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia13MurderedMorcombe was abducted while waiting to catch a bus under an overpass. Previously convicted pedophile, Brett Peter Cowan was charged in August 2011 for Daniel's abduction and murder before a search site was established in remote bushlands near the Glass House Mountains for his body. Skeletal remains were eventually found and DNA tests confirmed that the bones belonged to Daniel.[14] Cowan was sentenced to life imprisonment on 14 March 2014.[15]
April 2, 2004Gina DeJesusAriel CastroCleveland, Ohio, US14RescuedJust over 9 years after DeJesus' abduction, on May 6, 2013, she was rescued along with Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight, and a child of Amanda Berry's born in captivity. They were in reasonable health and within 3 miles of the site of their disappearances.
October 19, 2004Margaret HassanUnknownBaghdad, Iraq59MurderedHassan was kidnapped and later killed on November 8 by terrorists. Her remains were never recovered.
February 24, 2005Jessica LunsfordJohn CoueyHomosassa, Florida, US9MurderedLunsford was abducted from her home in the early morning. Believed held captive over the weekend, she was raped and later murdered by 46-year-old Couey who lived nearby. The media covered the investigation and trial of her killer extensively. On August 24, 2007, a judge in Inverness, Florida sentenced Couey, a convicted sex offender, to death for kidnapping, sexually battering, and First degree murder of Jessica.
May 18, 2005RahulUnknownAlappuzha, Kerala, India7UnknownThe local police and the CBI have not found any tangible evidence for his whereabouts.
September 12, 2005Claudia MelchersUnknownAmsterdam, Netherlands36ReleasedA group of armed men broke into her house, tying up her husband and children before taking Claudia with them. The motive is unknown, although it is suspected that it was done to demand a large ransom, as her father Hans Melchers is one of the richest citizens of the Netherlands.
September 5, 2005Taylor BehlBenjamin FawleyRichmond, Virginia, US17Murdered*Behl, a Virginia Commonwealth University freshman was found dead on 5 October 2005, in Mathews County, Virginia, after having gone missing a month earlier.
October 19, 2005Cristina Rios ValladaresFlorence CassezMexicoReleased*Cristina Rios Valladares was kidnapped with her two children.[16] They were freed after 52 days. Florence Cassez was convicted and sentenced to serve a 61-year sentence for the abduction.[citation needed]
January 8, 2007William "Ben" Benjamin OwnbyMichael J. DevlinSt. Louis, Missouri13RescuedBen was getting off the school bus when he was forced into Michael Devlin's pick-up. Also in the truck was 15-year-old Shawn Hornbeck, who had been kidnapped by Devlin four years earlier and had been living as his son ever since. The boys lived in Devlin's apartment for a few days, playing computer games and watching TV. A friend of Ben's gave the police a description of Devlin's vehicle, and his boss recognized it, remembering that Devlin was home sick that day. The man called the police, who went to Devlin's apartment and met Shawn, who gave his last name as Wilcox. The officers left, but came back the next day. That time, Devlin eventually admitted to having Ben.
May 3, 2007Madeleine McCannUnknownPraia da Luz, Portugal3UnknownMcCann, a British girl, disappeared aged almost 4 from her family's holiday apartment. Her parents were out eating at a bar with friends leaving Madeleine and her two younger siblings alone in the apartment. She has yet to be found.
December 2, 2007Sergio GomezUnknownMichoacán, Mexico34MurderedGomez was a famous Mexican singer who was the founder and lead vocalist of the group K-Paz de la Sierra. He was kidnapped on 2 December 2007 and murdered the next day.
January 13, 2008Mari Luz CortesSantiago del ValleHuelva, Spain5MurderedMari Luz left her home in the El Torrejón area of Huelva for a short trip to the local sweets kiosk where she disappeared. She was found dead.
February 19, 2008Shannon MatthewsMichael Donovan and Karen MatthewsDewsbury, England9RescuedShannon was abducted and held captive for 24 days by Donovan, the uncle of her mother, Karen Matthews', boyfriend. After her rescue by police it was found that Karen had helped plot the kidnapping in an attempt to gain reward money.
February 9, 2009Haleigh CummingsUnknownSatsuma, Florida, US5UnknownCummings was last seen sleeping in her family's trailer. She was discovered missing and the rear door to the trailer was several inches ajar and the screen door had been propped open with a cinderblock. The case remains unsolved.
March 27, 2009Sandra CantuMelissa HuckabyTracy, California, US8MurderedSeveral days after Cantu went missing on April 6, a suitcase was discovered in a pond containing her body. On April 10, 2009, police arrested 28-year-old Melissa Huckaby and charged her with the kidnapping, rape, and murder of Cantu.
May 24, 2009Nevaeh BuchananUnknownMonroe, Michigan, US5MurderedBuchanan was discovered missing from the parking lot of the Charlotte Arms apartment complex. A fishermen discovered Nevaeh's body along the banks of the River Raisin in Raisinville Township on June 4, 2009.

2010 and later[edit]

DateVictim(s)Abductor(s)LocationAge of victim(s)OutcomeNotes
January 30, 2010Naga VaishnaviUnknownAndhra Pradesh, India10MurderedVaishnavi was murdered 3 days after her abduction.
June 4, 2010Kyron HormanUnknownPortland, Oregon, US7UnknownHorman disappeared when he did not return home from Skyline Elementary School. Local and state police along with the FBI conducted an exhaustive search for the boy and launched a criminal investigation, but have not uncovered any significant information regarding the boy's whereabouts.
June 8, 2010Khan KakamaGordon TumusiimeBugolobi, Kampala, Uganda1MurderedKakama was handed to the kidnappers by Molly Nabasa, his nanny. His parents, Sven and Naome Karekaho, work(ed) for the Uganda Revenue Authority and National Environmental Management Authority, respectively.
November 25, 2010 (Thanksgiving Day)Andrew, Alexander, and Tanner SkeltonJohn SkeltonMorenci, Michigan5 - 9UnknownThe three boys' mother had custody of them, but they were at their father's house for Thanksgiving the last time they were seen. Their father was convicted of kidnapping them, and still claims that they are alive, though police believe them to be dead. Images of the boys are available here
April 13, 2011Holly BoboArrests have been made, no convictionsDarden, Tennessee20MurderedHolly was witnessed by her brother walking into the woods outside their family home with a man wearing camouflage. Three years later, in 2014, four men were arrested for varying degrees of involvement in the kidnapping and are awaiting trial. A woman has alleged that she has seen a video of Holly Bobo tied up and crying, although this video has not been located. Her body was found in September 2014.[17]
May 12, 2011Timmothy James PitzenAmy Fry-PitzenWisconsin Dells, Wisconsin6UnknownTimmothy's name is sometimes occasionally spelled Timothy, but it has two "m"s. He was taken out of school by his mother, Amy Fry-Pitzen one day, but she did bring him home. His father, James Pitzen, reported both of them missing that same day. Amy called some family members to tell them she was alright, with Timmothy saying he was hungry in the background. Her body was found, having killed herself, on May 14. Timmothy was not with her the last time she was seen alive, and his whereabouts are still unknown. Images of Timmothy and more information are available here
July 11, 2011Leiby KletzkyLevi AroNew York City, US8MurderedKletzky was kidnapped on his way home from day camp in his Hasidic Jewish neighborhood.[when?] The alleged killer was apprehended 32 hours later; he confessed to killing the boy and dismembering his body, but entered a plea of not guilty in court.
October 3, 2011Lisa IrwinUnknownKansas City, Missouri, US10 monthsUnknownIrwin disappeared from her home in the early hours of the morning. Investigators to this day have never given any indication that Lisa Irwin was kidnapped by an outside intruder.
April 21, 2012Isabel CelisUnknownTucson, Arizona, United States6UnknownCelis was reported missing by her father around 8 a.m. when she was not in her room, and a bedroom window was opened with the screen removed. She has not yet been found.
October 1, 2012April JonesMark BridgerMachynlleth, Wales5MurderedJones was lured into a van by Bridger. Bridger killed her soon afterwards but only small fragments of her body have been found.
January 29, 2013Ethan GilmanJimmy Lee DykesMidland City, Alabama, US5RescuedDykes, a 65-year-old Vietnam War-era veteran boarded a Dale County school bus, killed the driver, and took Gilman hostage. On the afternoon of February 4, law enforcement agents entered the bunker, killed Dykes, and rescued Gilman.
June 12, 2014Naphtali Frankel,
Gilad Shar,
Ayal Yiphrach
Hamas militants suspectedGush Etzion, West BankNaphtali-16, Gilad-16, Ayal-19Killed

Modern kidnappings of celebrities or their relatives[edit]

Kidnappers interested in getting a large ransom or a political effect often target celebrities or their relatives. Here are some of the people affected by these crimes:

Faked kidnappings[edit]

Assumed kidnap conspiracies that turned out to be fake[edit]

Suspected kidnappings[edit]

Kidnapping in lieu of extradition[edit]

See main article: Extradition and abduction

Mass kidnappings[edit]


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