When a kidnapping occurs, one of the first things that could be done is to try to find the correct motive.  According to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, kidnapper’s motivation explains “why the kidnapper engaged in the abduction” (Webster).  There are many different motives often depending on the type of kidnapping.

First, there are many different reasons why there might be a non-family abduction. The most common and main “motive for [a] child abduction killer… was sexual assault” (Child Abduction Research).  In this case the abductor would take advantage of his or her victim sexually, and rape them. It has been said to “fulfill [his or her] fantasy and desire for power, [he or she] tends to feel an attachment to the victim” (Royster).  Another reason for non-family kidnappings was so that the victims could be sold for their body parts. There is a high supply and demand for replacement organs so someone can be healthy.  These could be sold (Missing Children International).  Most cases also were “to obtain money” (Webster).


Next, in family kidnappings, there is really only one main cause for motive.  Often times, the abduction occurs because of “disputes over custody of a child cannot be satisfactorily resolved or when one parent abducts the child to express control, anger or revenge over the other parent” (California Child Abduction Task Force).  Since the parents care so much about the child and don’t want to lose them, he or she will take them away.  the child is normally cooperative and unaware of what’s happening because they trust the person. (California Child Abduction Task Force).


Finally, many kidnappings were just runways or mishaps. This was usually because kids  “miscommunicated their plans, [were]lost, or have run away” (Gregoire).  The reason for runaways is mostly because of family problems at home, parental neglect or abuse, or other personal issues (Missing Children International).

In conclusion, motivations for kidnappings vary greatly on what type of situation it is. Non-family kidnappings were normally about money or sexual reasons. Family abductions were mostly about custody disputes, or to show power. Runaways were commonly about family issues. Whichever one, all are serious threat.


Works Cited

Webster, Mike, Ed.D. “PUBLICATIONS.” NCJRS Abstract. Official of Justice Programs, 2007. Web. 07 Dec. 2014. <>

“Child Abduction Murder Research.” Child Abduction Murder Research. Washington State Office of the Attorney General, 2006. Web. 07 Dec. 2014. <>

Royster, Riplee N. “Child Abduction: A Theory of Criminal Behavior.” Forensic Psych. Forensic Psych, 15 Dec. 2011. Web. 07 Dec. 2014. <>

“The 10 Reasons Why Children Disappear.” Missing Children International. Missing Children International, 2004. Web. 07 Dec. 2014. <>

“Child Abduction.” California Child Abduction Task Force. Center for Innovation and Resources, 2014. Web. 07 Dec. 2014. <>


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