South Dakota Kidnapping/Abduction 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.  South Dakota laws classify kidnapping into two categories:  first degree and second degree.

According to the laws of South Dakota, any person is guilty of kidnapping in the first degree.  Who, either

  • unlawfully removes another person from the other’s place of residence or employment, or
  • who unlawfully removes another person a substantial distance from the vicinity where the other was at the commencement of the removal, or
  • who unlawfully confines another person for a substantial period of time, with any of the following purposes:
  • To hold for ransom or reward, or as a shield or hostage; or
  • To facilitate the commission of any felony or flight thereafter; or
  • To inflict bodily injury on or to terrorize the victim or another; or
  • To interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function; or
  • To take or entice away a child under the age of fourteen years with intent to detain and conceal such child.

Kidnapping in the first degree is a Class C felony, unless the person has inflicted serious bodily injury on the victim, in which case it is aggravated kidnapping in the first degree and is a Class B felony[i].   Kidnapping in the second degree is a Class 3 felony, unless the person has inflicted serious bodily injury on the victim in which case it is aggravated kidnapping in the second degree and is a Class 1 felony[ii].

Further, if any person receives, possesses, or disposes of any money or other property which has, at any time, been delivered as ransom or reward in connection with a kidnapping and who knows that the money or property is ransom or reward in connection with a kidnapping, is guilty of a Class 3 felony[iii].

South Dakota Attorney General’s Office Division of Criminal Investigation is the missing-child clearinghouse of the state.  The primary areas of focus for missing-child clearinghouses are networking, information dissemination, training development and delivery, data collection, and provision of technical assistance in cases of missing and sexually exploited children.

[i] S.D. Codified Laws § 22-19-1

[ii] S.D. Codified Laws § 22-19-1.1

[iii] S.D. Codified Laws § 22-19-6