Man Sentenced To State Prison For Kidnapping

Samuel Saeli

MAYVILLE — Samuel Saeli, 30, of Dunkirk, was sentenced Thursday to 16 years in state prison plus 10 years of post-release supervision after being convicted of second-degree kidnapping and second-degree kidnapping as a sexually motivated felony, by Acting Chautauqua County Court Judge Paul B. Wojtaszek

Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson announced the sentencing. “Today, the defendant was placed where he cannot pose a threat to any child for the next 16 years. Justice was served with the sentence the court handed down,” he said.

Saeli kidnapped a 13-year-old autistic boy from the Fredonia Wal-Mart parking lot in August 2016. The victim reportedly entered Saeli’s vehicle and left the parking lot but was reunited with his family about 40 minutes later near Cushing Street in Fredonia.

The jury deadlocked in Saeli’s original trial last September, resulting in a mistrial. A new jury found him guilty after a four-day retrial in June.

“First and foremost, I want to thank the Fredonia Police Department, and our local FBI partners for their outstanding work on this case,” Swanson said. “The quick response of every officer involved in this case needs to be commended. This case reminds each and every parent of the dangers that exist in today’s world. It highlights their worst fears. But it also reminds us that there are good guys wearing blue that go to work for us every day to protect our families.”

Swanson continued, “I cannot say enough about our local law enforcement here in Chautauqua County. Their hard work on this case has resulted in the elimination of a real danger to our society for the next 16 years. My hope is that this man does not have the opportunity to harm one of our children again.”

The DA said in a June press conference that he suspects there are more victims of Saeli who have yet to come forward. When Saeli was found guilty, Swanson said the hung jury in 2017 “may have been the best possible thing that happened, because based on further information that we uncovered, we expect federal charges to be forthcoming.”