24 Crazy Facts About Kidnapping (2023)

Kidnapping has unfortunately played a role in the history of our world, and it is still a problem in many places. Here are some interesting facts, some deadly serious and some absolutely ridiculous, on kidnapping.

24. True Friends


Guillermo del Toro and James Cameron are old friends, and their ties run deep. Living in Mexico in the 90s was a rough time for del Toro, and in 1997 his father was kidnapped and held for ransom. They asked for $1 million cash, however, Toro had poured all of his money into his production of Mimic and was unable to retrieve his father. In comes Cameron, the good old friend, who took it upon himself to pay for the ransom, and even brought in a seasoned negotiator to safely retrieve del Toro’s father.

23. Reversal of Slaves

The Underground Railroad is so important to history because of just how dangerous it actually was. People didn’t simply let slaves escape, and in retaliation for the Underground Railroad, a reverse Underground Railroad was brought into practice, where people would kipadnap escaped slaves and send them back to the South. This network survived for 85 years, from 1780-1865.

22. Father of the Bride

In some places in India, marriage is a serious business and dowry costs can be crazy. So crazy, in fact, that some brides’ families go so far as to kidnap bachelors and force them into marriage with their daughters in order to get around paying a large dowry.

21. No One’s Safe

A former major in the United States Army, Felix Batista is a seasoned veteran in negotiating hostage situations, and is considered an anti-kidnapping expert. In 2008, he was in Coahuila, Mexico to give a talk on kidnappings and advice on how not to get kidnapped…until he was kidnapped. He is still missing to this day.


20. Lion Kings

In 2005, a 12-year-old Ethiopian girl was kidnapped by several men who wanted to force her into a marriage. They held her hostage for about a week andbegan beating her until three lions showed up on the scene where they were moving her and chased the men away. They then stood guard on the young until she was rescued by local authorities.

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19. Missing Women

While groom kidnapping is practiced in some locations in India, bride kidnapping is unfortunately far more prevalent in the world, with many cases occurring across various continents. In Kyrgyzstan, it was quite common of an occurrence up until 1994, when the country had to pass a law to make it illegal. That hasn’t stopped people from still abducting young women, though.

18. All Hail Caesar

Sometimes kidnappers get the wrong guy. That was the case for Cilician pirates, who twice abducted Julius Caesar. Upon his second capture, Caesar demanded the pirates double their price of ransom (he knew his worth) but also promised their heads after he was rescued. He wasn’t playing around. After he was released, he sailed into their territory with his own ships, defeated the pirates in battle, and crucified them.

17. ThanksGrandpa

The Getty Oil company brought J. Paul Getty an incredible amount of wealth, and he spent some time in the 1960s as the world’s richest person. But just because he was rich doesn’t mean he wasn’t stingy. In fact, he was notoriously frugal, even refusing to pay a ransom for his grandson when the boy was kidnapped at 16 years old. After the grandson’s ear was sent to Getty, he reluctantly agreed to pay, but only up to $2.2 million, the highest total he could get a tax deduction on. He then loaned the rest of the ransom money to his son and forced him to pay it back at a 4% interest rate.

16. Kidnapping Genitals

In 1997, the capital of Ghana—Accra—was driven into a state of chaos after seven people were murdered for their alleged attempts to kidnap the penises of several men. The accused wizards had apparently been snatching penises, and sometimes shrinking them, in an attempt to extort people for money.

24 Crazy Facts About Kidnapping (10)

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15. Too Many People Missing

In the United States, kidnapping is, unfortunately, more of an issue than you would believe, as every 40 seconds a child goes missing. Every year, over 800,000 go missing in the country, and 2,300 people—including adults—are reported missing per day.


14. Short Time

Of course, when a child goes missing, you want to find them immediately. Not only is it a desire to find them right away, but it is a necessity to find them within the first three hours. 76.2% of all children who go missing are tragically murdered within the first three hours of their disappearance.

13. Watch the Parents

Though the first three hours are crucial in finding an abducted child, it takes parents an average of two hours to actually finish reporting on their missing child. However, parents are most often the culprit in child abductions, with 53% of the time it being the father who took the kid, and 25% of the time the mother.

12. In Absentia

If missing, it takes seven years for it to be possible to be declared dead, although in the case of disasters, the number can be reduced, as in the case for tragedies such as September 11, 2001, or for major battles in times of war.

11. Missing Milk

The practice of printing missing person advertisements on milk cartons developed in 1984, when local paperboys from Des Moines, Iowa went missing while on their delivery routes. Unfortunately, those two boys were never found.

10. New Technology

Printing local missing persons on milk cartons remained the main system of spreading the word on the disappearance of children until 1996 when the AMBER alert technology system was developed. The full meaning of the acronym is America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response.

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9. In Memory of Amber

The name for AMBER Alert actually developed in response to the kidnapping and murder of 9-year-old Amber Hagerman in 1996. After her death, her parents went on a crusade to attempt to bring new legislature to the state of Texas in order to better protect children.


8. Minority Majority

Of all of the abductions that occur in the United States, 65% of all the non-family kidnappings occur to minority children, with 45% of that makeup being African American children.

7. Hunting Dog

Andrew Luster was a serial rapist who was wanted throughout the United States for many vicious sexual assaults. The heir to the Max Factor cosmetics fortune, he used his means to evade justice and flee to Mexico. The only problem with this plan was that Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman was after him. Dog found Luster living it up in Mexico, kidnapped him, and tried to bring him back to the United States to face his crimes. However, before getting back to the US, they were both arrested by Mexican authorities.

6. Prisoner Exchange

The Canadian journalist Mellissa Fung was kidnapped in 2008 while reporting in Afghanistan, however, her abduction wasn’t at the hands of the Taliban, but rather a group of bandits. In order to have her returned, Afghan authorities found out who her captor was and kidnapped hisfamily in order to force a prisoner exchange.

5. Pop Messages

If you are attempting to send a message to hostages, then you must accept that their captors will see it as well, as sending messages directly to the hostages is considered impossible. That is unless you figure out a way to infiltrate Morse code into the hostage’s surroundings, which is exactly what the Columbian military succeeded in doing in 2010 by commissioning a pop song for the purpose of carrying a message to prisoners, who were allowed to listen to the radio while in captivity.

4. Gladiator Training

Los Zetas are one of the most dangerous and notorious drug syndicates in Mexico, and they’ve developed a unique technique in order to find and train new assassins: Gladiator blood sport. The cartel will kidnap people and force them to fight each other to the death. Those who win are sent on suicide missions to kill rival gang members, and those who survive these deadly missions are then used as assassins from there on out.

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3. Friendly Kidnapping

Sometimes your family prevents you from having too much fun. One solution is to stage your own kidnapping like 34-year-old Rogelio Andaverde did. He had two of his friends barge into his house wearing masks and kidnap him at gunpoint in front of his wife, and then spent the next couple of days out with them partying.


2. Oral Contract

In 2009, a man held two hostages at knifepoint and forced them to help him hide from the police after he crashed his car onto their lawn during a chase. The couple kept their calm and seduced the young man with Cheetos, soda, and Robin Williams movies. Once he was comfortably asleep, they made their escape from the house. After his arrest, in which he was shot by police “accidentally,” he sued the couple for a breach of an “oral contract” that they verbally agreed to.

1. For the Love of Fats

Fats Waller is one of the most legendary jazz pianists in American history, and he was loved by many—including Al Capone. For Capone’s birthday party in 1926, Waller was kidnapped and forced to play at gunpoint. Initially fearing for his life, he was relieved to find out that Capone loved him and relaxed into the party, which he didn’t leave for three days. When he finally left, he did so with thousands of dollars in tips, and surely a hangoverfrom hell.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

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What is the biggest reason for kidnapping? ›

Kidnapping of children is usually done by one parent or others. The kidnapping of adults is often for ransom or to force someone to withdraw money from an ATM, but may also be for sexual assault.

What age is kidnapped the most? ›

Children under the age of 6 are most frequently targeted for family abductions and these often occur in the midst of bitter divorce or child custody battles between parents.

What was the first ever kidnapping? ›

On July 1, 1874 two little boys were abducted in front of their family's mansion. It was the first kidnapping for ransom in the history of the United States, and would be the major event of its kind until the Lindbergh baby kidnapping. The boys were named Charley and Walter Ross; they were 4 and 6 years old.

What is the odd of being kidnapped? ›

The chances of a child getting kidnapped aren't as high as people may think. They are 1 in 300,000.

Which gender gets kidnapped more? ›

Almost all kids kidnapped by strangers are taken by men, and about two thirds of stranger abductions involve female children. Most abducted kids are in their teens. Kids are rarely abducted from school grounds.

What drives people to kidnap? ›

The principal motives for kidnapping are to subject the victim to some form of involuntary servitude, to expose him to the commission of some further criminal act against his person, or to obtain ransom for his safe release.

Where is the most common place to get kidnapped? ›

The countries with the highest rates of kidnap are those with weak security infrastructures, high levels of impunity and economic disparity, such as Mexico, Venezuela and Nigeria, and those experiencing prolonged conflicts, such as Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan.

How do kidnappers choose their targets? ›

How does a kidnapper choose his victim? Kidnappers tend to develop a profile of their likely target before making an abduction based upon their overall goals, which usually falls into one of three categories: financial gain, extremism or emotional disturbance.

What type of person is the most likely to be kidnapped? ›

Children aged 12 and over are the victims of kidnapping in more than 80% of the cases. Teen behavior and irresponsibility are often considered the culprit before officials consider abduction.

Why would someone kidnap a child? ›

To exert control, aggression, or violence: These types of abductions are motivated by an offender's desire to control, dominate, and cause harm to a child and/or a child's family. Due to emotional/mental health issues: These types of child abductions are committed by offenders with severe mental health issues.

Who is the most famous missing child? ›

Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr., 20-month-old son of the famous aviator and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, was kidnapped about 9:00 p.m., on March 1, 1932, from the nursery on the second floor of the Lindbergh home near Hopewell, New Jersey.

What happens to a kidnapped child? ›

Parent kidnappers

In nearly half of parental kidnappings, a court ruling obliged the parent to return the child, while 16% of cases were settled by mediation, and in 18% of cases parents voluntarily sent the child back. But in 15 cases (1.2%) the child was found dead.

What do kidnappers do to kidnap? ›

In most basic kidnapping cases, the perpetrators are motivated by ransom or concessions. They take and detain the victim, then contact their loved ones or employer to negotiate the victim's release.

Why do most kidnappers kidnap? ›

Some of the reasons why a stranger might kidnap an unknown child include: extortion to elicit a ransom from the parents for the child's return. illegal adoption, a stranger steals a child with the intent to rear the child as their own or to sell to a prospective adoptive parent.

What can kidnappers do to you? ›

Hostage and kidnap survivors can experience stress reactions including denial, impaired memory, shock, numbness, anxiety, guilt, depression, anger, and a sense of helplessness.

How many kids go missing a year? ›

In the United States, an estimated 460,000 children are reported missing every year. Federal Bureau of Investigation, NCIC.

How many missing children are never found? ›

According to our research and experience, out of the half a million children that go missing every year in the United States, nearly all of them are found. That's 97.8%.

How many missing persons are never found? ›

According to the NamUs database, there are 600,000 people declared missing every year. Alongside that statistic, there are 4,400 unidentified bodies discovered every year.

Who are the common victims of kidnapping? ›

The majority (66 or 87%) of victims of attempted abduction were female and most (57 or 75%) victims were children or teenagers. The average age of attempted abduction victims was 17 years. Only 11 per cent of victims were younger than 10 years.

What is to carry away by force to kidnap? ›

abducted; abducting; abducts. Synonyms of abduct. transitive verb. : to seize and take away (a person) by force. The girl was abducted by kidnappers.

What state has the most kidnaps? ›

The Indian state of Uttar Pradesh had the highest number of kidnapping and abduction victims reported in 2021 with over 14 thousand victims.

What state do kids get kidnapped the most? ›

#StateMissing Persons Rate
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What city in America has the most kidnappings? ›

"In what officials caution is now a dangerous and even deadly crime wave, Phoenix, Arizona has become the kidnapping capital of America, with more incidents than any other city in the world outside of Mexico City and over 370 cases last year alone," according to a report by Brian Ross, Richard Esposito and Asa Eslocker ...

Do kidnappers release their victims? ›

Occasionally, these victims are released unharmed, but typically most are robbed and assaulted, and some are held for longer if the kidnappers believe they may obtain financial gain by ransoming to family or an employer.

How do you stop kidnappers? ›

Shout and make as much noise as possible to call attention to the situation. As soon as you take off or if you get cornered and you can't run, start shouting. Yell for help, shout for people to call the police, and yell that you're being attacked. Make as much noise as possible to call attention to yourself.

How do kidnappers manipulate their victims? ›

In conclusion, the United States has done many things to help prevent more kidnappings and abduction from occurring. Some tactics that kidnappers use on their kidnap children are brainwashing, hypnosis, and physical abuse. Mind control can be a powerful method to turn children from the real truth.

What is it called when a kidnapped person falls in love? ›

Stockholm syndrome is a rare psychological reaction to a captive or abusive situation.

What is psychological kidnapping? ›

depriving a person of the free functioning of his or her personality. The term is sometimes used to describe the psychological mind control attributed to cults.

What is the victim of a kidnapper called? ›

What is another word for kidnap victim?
POWprisoner of war
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Why do they call it kidnapping if it's not a kid? ›

The main difference you should understand about the two crimes is that kidnapping means the victim does not need to be a child. Defendants, however, will receive harsher punishments if the victim is under 14 years of age in a kidnapping.

Do strangers kidnap children? ›

Each day, an average of 2100 children are reported missing in the United States. Of this number, 800 of these cases turn out to be false alarms based on miscommunications or where the child was not actually missing. Thirty-three children are abducted by someone who is not a family member.

Why is it called kidnapping? ›

The original meaning of kidnap, dating from the late seventeenth century, was "steal children to provide servants to the American colonies," from kid, "child," and nap, "snatch away." After the particularly notorious Lindberg baby kidnapping in 1932, the U.S. Congress passed a law allowing the FBI to investigate all ...

Who is the longest missing child that was found? ›

Marjorie West is a 4 year old American child who went missing from McKean County, Pennsylvania on May 8, 1938.
Disappearance of Marjorie West.
Marjorie West
Portrait of 4-year-old Marjorie West
BornJune 2, 1933 Bradford, Pennsylvania
DisappearedMay 8, 1938 (4 years old) McKean County, Pennsylvania
StatusMissing for 84 years, 11 months and 20 days
3 more rows

Who is the longest person to go missing? ›

Clark's case has the distinction of being the oldest active missing person case in the United States.
Disappearance of Marvin Clark.
Marvin Clark
BornMarvin Alvin Clark c. 1852 Marion County, Iowa, U.S.
DisappearedOctober 30, 1926 (aged 73–74) Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Height5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
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How many kids go missing a day? ›

Facts & Stats - Child Find of America. It is estimated that 2,300 children are missing every day in the United States . Children can become missing for many reasons.

What is the average age of kids who get kidnapped? ›

Victims of attempted stranger abduction have an average age of 11 years. Victims of completed abduction (with a clear sexual motive) have an average age of 14 years. Roughly two-thirds of abductions by a stranger involve a perpetrator in a car.

What are the three stages of kidnapping? ›

The Stockholm Syndrome is the positive bonding that hostages often develop with their captors. This bonding may be the result of an effort to deal with the anxiety and stress caused by being taken captive. The body goes through three stages in its reaction to stress: alarm, resistance, and exhaustion.

How do I find a kidnapped child? ›

After you have reported your child missing to law enforcement, call the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678). If your child is missing from home, search through: Closets. Piles of laundry.

Is it rare to get kidnapped? ›

Fewer than 350 people under the age of 21 have been abducted by strangers in the United States per year, on average, between 2010–2017. According to another source, only about 100 cases per year can be classified as abductions by strangers.

What is kidnapping called for adults? ›

False Imprisonment is when someone confines or detains another person without their consent. Victims may know the kidnapper. Victims of kidnapping can be any age, including adults.

Why is it called tiger kidnapping? ›

The term “tiger kidnapping” comes from the way a tiger stalks its prey before it strikes. Criminals use the same tactic. They learn about their quarries' weaknesses before they exploit them, eventually targeting the item or person that they believe will elicit a desired reaction.

Why do most people kidnap? ›

Some are kidnapped by terrorist groups, others by criminal gangs. Criminals are looking to extort money. Terrorists might be looking for money, the exchange of prisoners, a change in policy or to gain propaganda. The motives vary from group to group, place to place and over time.

What if someone kidnaps me? ›

Stay calm and focused on survival.

If you can help it, try not to even cry. When you're talking to the person who's abducted you or taken you hostage, speak softly and clearly. Don't be belligerent or uncooperative. If you antagonize your captors, they may be more likely to attack or even kill you.

What is the most common place to get kidnapped? ›

Attempted abductions most often occur on the street while children are playing, walking, or riding bikes. Younger children are more likely to be playing or walking with a parent or an adult whereas school-age children are more likely to be walking alone or with peers.

What causes kidnappers to kidnap? ›

To exert control, aggression, or violence: These types of abductions are motivated by an offender's desire to control, dominate, and cause harm to a child and/or a child's family. Due to emotional/mental health issues: These types of child abductions are committed by offenders with severe mental health issues.

What is the most common kidnapping? ›

By far, the most frequent form of kidnapping is abduction by a parent or family member. Today, over one quarter of a million such cases are reported annually to the authorities. Many of these are minor episodes—often misunderstandings or disagreements over custody, and they are short term.

Who is most likely to be a kidnapper? ›

Parents were the perpetrators in more than 90 percent of kidnappings and abductions.

Who is most at risk for kidnapping? ›

This page is about reducing the risk of kidnapping, before you go, for you and your children.
Foreigners at higher risk of kidnapping by terrorists
  • journalists.
  • oil and mining industry employees.
  • aid and humanitarian workers or volunteers.
  • tourists, especially where tourism is rare.
Jan 4, 2023

How do you stop a kidnapper? ›

Shout and make as much noise as possible to call attention to the situation. As soon as you take off or if you get cornered and you can't run, start shouting. Yell for help, shout for people to call the police, and yell that you're being attacked. Make as much noise as possible to call attention to yourself.

Where do Americans get kidnapped the most? ›

Which are the main countries where Americans are kidnapped? Americans are kidnapped in many different countries, from Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan, to Mexico, Brazil, Iran and North Korea.

What place has the least kidnappings? ›

Kidnapping rate - Country rankings

The highest value was in Belgium: 10.3 kidnappings per 100,000 people and the lowest value was in Bermuda: 0 kidnappings per 100,000 people.

What does kidnappers do when they kidnap? ›

The intent of the kidnapper is a decisive element in the crime of kidnapping. The physical taking or removal of a person from his/her home by the use of force, fraud, or coercion amounts to kidnapping. Kidnapping generally includes the seizing, confining, or detention of another person against his/her will.

How many kids go missing from Disney? ›

The former study had the number of missing kids reported at around 100 a year, while the NCMEC put the figure at around 2,000. Just be aware that the second figure is for AMUSEMENT PARKS IN GENERAL. So, that includes Disney World, Disneyland, and virtually every other park.

What are some of the worst kidnappings? ›

Natascha Kampusch, kidnapper Wolfgang Přiklopil, Vienna, Austria, 8 years, 5 months. Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight, and Georgina "Gina" DeJesus, kidnapper Ariel Castro, Cleveland, Ohio, USA, 9 to 11 years. Katya Martynova and Lena Samokhina, kidnapper Viktor Mokhov, Skopin, Ryazan, Russia, 3 to 4 years.

What was the biggest US kidnapping? ›

The 1976 Chowchilla kidnapping was the abduction of a school bus driver and 26 children, ages 5 to 14, in Chowchilla, California, United States, on July 15, 1976.


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