Ohio Kidnapping/Abducting Laws


Kidnapping is the crime of taking a person against their will to an undisclosed location.  This may be done for ransom or in furtherance of another crime, or in connection with a child custody dispute.  Ohio classifies kidnapping into two categories: first degree and second degree.

According to the laws of Ohio, a person is guilty of kidnapping if any person, by force, threat, or deception, or, in the case of a victim under the age of thirteen or mentally incompetent, by any means remove another from the place where the other person is found or restrain the liberty of the other person, for any of the following purposes:

  • To hold for ransom, or as a shield or hostage;
  • To facilitate the commission of any felony or flight thereafter;
  • To terrorize, or to inflict serious physical harm on the victim or another;
  • To engage in sexual activity, as defined in section 2907.01 of the Revised Code, with the victim against the victim’s will;
  • To hinder, impede, or obstruct a function of government, or to force any action or concession on the part of governmental authority.

If any person, by force, threat, or deception, or, in the case of a victim under the age of thirteen or mentally incompetent by any means knowingly do any of the following is also guilty of kidnapping:

  • Restrain another of the other person’s liberty;
  • Hold another in a condition of involuntary servitude.

If such kidnapping creates a substantial risk of serious physical harm to the victim, it is a felony of the first degree and the offender shall be sentenced to an indefinite prison term consisting of a minimum term of fifteen years and a maximum term of life imprisonment.  If the offender releases the victim in a safe place unharmed, such kidnapping is a felony of the second degree and such the offender shall be sentenced to an indefinite term consisting of a minimum term of ten years and a maximum term of life imprisonment[i].

The Ohio Missing Children Clearinghouse acts as a central repository to coordinate and improve the availability of information on missing children pursuant to Ohio Revised Code 109.65(B).  The clearinghouse assists in the search for missing children, create public awareness of pertinent issues, and develop and disseminate information in order to educate the public, professionals, and others in the prevention and intervention of missing and abducted children.

Ohio Missing Children Clearing House

[i]ORC Ann. 2905.01