Sioux Falls man charged with kidnapping after child grabbed from snowbank

Witnesses told police the man gave the child a bear hug and began carrying the child away. Multiple adults jumped into action and recovered the child without injury.


SIOUX FALLS — A Sioux Falls man was charged with kidnapping after witnesses told police he physically picked up a child and began walking away as the child was playing in a snowbank.

At approximately 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, police in Sioux Falls were called to an apartment complex near North Career Avenue and West Cayman Street in northwestern Sioux Falls for a report of an intoxicated male attempting to grab a child.

Upon arrival, authorities came into contact with multiple witnesses who accused 27-year-old Leroy Swift Hawk, of Sioux Falls, of wandering around the apartment complex’s parking lot while intoxicated.

Witnesses said that after a school bus had dropped off a group of children, the kids were playing in a snowbank when Swift Hawk approached them and lifted a child, embracing the juvenile in a “bear hug.” They said Swift Hawk then began walking away with the child in his arms.

Several adults, including the child’s parents, began yelling at Swift Hawk, who released the child before police arrived. The child was unharmed.


Authorities were able to find Swift Hawk near the apartment complex. He was taken to the Minnehaha County Jail on charges of second-degree kidnapping and disorderly conduct.

“Everything came to a peaceful resolution,” said Robert Forster, a lieutenant with the Sioux Falls Police Department. “Kind of a scary little incident, but the parents were out there, so it’s just another reminder to keep a close eye on your kids while they’re playing.”

Swift Hawk is set to appear in a Minnehaha County courtroom on Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 7. If convicted, he could be sentenced to serve as many as 15 years in prison and pay fines of up to $30,000 for the felony charge, plus serve up to 30 days in jail and fines of up to $500 for disorderly conduct.

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on local news in Sioux Falls. He also writes regional news spanning across the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
What To Read Next
Get Local