Kidnapping is the taking away of a person against his or her will by use of force, fraud, or threat. In Maryland, the term kidnapping also refers to the taking of a child under the age of 16 from his or her home—even if it is not against the child’s will—without parental consent. Common motives for kidnapping include collecting ransom money, allowing for the commission of a separate crime, furthering a political agenda, inflicting injury or suffering to the victim, or obtaining illegal custody of a child. Kidnapping is a crime that may be committed by a stranger, acquaintance, or relative. Kidnapping is a serious felony, which carries with it a potential prison sentence of up to 30 years. Parental kidnapping occurs when a parent without legal custody unlawfully abducts a child. Over 350,000 parental kidnappings occur each year. However, many of these “kidnappings” are actually custody disputes—reported by the custodial parent as a means of exercising control over the non-custodial parent.