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Abducting or the taking of another person against their will by force, fraud or threats is kidnapping. State laws also provide for aggravated kidnapping charges where the victim is held for ransom, used as a hostage, abducted during the commission of a felony or injured during the course of the kidnapping. Aggravated kidnapping is generally a first-degree felony.

Kidnapping becomes a federal crime where the person is taken across a state line. Federal law provides that anyone who transports a person who has been unlawfully seized, inveigled, decoyed, kidnapped, abducted or carried away and held for ransom or reward, between states, shall be punished by death if the kidnapped person is harmed.