West Virginia Kidnapping/Abduction Laws


West Virginia Code § 61-2-14 defines kidnapping as, taking away/detaining a person;

  • against that person’s will with the intention to marry or defile the person, or to cause the person to be married or defiled by another person, or
  • under the age of sixteen years from any person having lawful charge of such child, or
  • against that person’s will for the purpose of prostitution.

The elements of kidnapping are: (1) a person unlawfully moved by the use of physical force or fear; (2) the movement is without the person’s consent; and (3) the movement of the person is for a substantial distance.[i]

Under West Virginia Code § 61-2-14, a person guilty of kidnapping will be confined in prison for not less than three years and not more than ten years.  A person kidnapping a child under sixteen years of age for any unlawful, improper or immoral purpose will be confined in prison for not less than one year and not more than ten years.

As per W. Va. Code § 61-2-14a, a  person  by force or threat  kidnaps another person with the intention of taking, receiving, demanding or extorting from such person, or from any other person, any ransom, money or other thing will be punishable by confinement by the division of corrections for life.  If kidnapping is carried out by a family member of a minor, s/he will be confined in a correctional facility for not less than one and not more than five years or fined not more than one thousand dollars, or both.

W. Va. Code § 61-2-14c provides that, if a person, with the intention of extorting from another person any ransom, money or other thing threaten to kidnap by any means of communication or kidnaps the other person will be punishable with confinement in the prison for any term not less than five years.

Under W. Va. Code § 61-2-14d, if a person conceals or removes a minor child in violation of any court order will be imprisoned for not less than one and not more than five years.

As per W. Va. Code § 61-2-14f, if a person kidnaps a child under the age of sixteen years or under within one thousand feet of a school will be punishable by imprisonment for not less than five years and not more than fifteen years.

The West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety is a department which protects and safeguard the state of West Virginia through well prepared and properly equipped national guard, law enforcement and homeland security systems.

WV Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety

[i] People v. Jones, 108 Cal. App. 4th 455 (Cal. App. 4th Dist. 2003)