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Press Release

Bronson Man Sentenced to more than 10 years in Federal Prison for Kidnapping

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Smith used homemade chloroform, physical restraints, and threats to harm family, to capture and restrain his victim.

A man who kidnapped his ex-girlfriend was sentenced today, to more than 10 years in federal prison.

Zachary Smith, 21, from Bronson, Iowa, received the prison term after a March 25, 2022, guilty plea to kidnapping.

Evidence in this case revealed that, before the instant offense, on May 11, 2021, Smith sent emails to his ex-girlfriend pretending to be his own father, advising her that Smith had committed suicide on May 8, 2021, and telling her to come to his former residence to claim some of her property.  The ex-girlfriend and another girl went to the residence, where Smith – armed with a BB gun -- was waiting for them.  He locked and chained the door shut and would not let either woman leave.  Law enforcement rescued the women, and a no contact order was issued against Smith. 

On June 3, 2021, Smith violated the order of protection, when he hid in the back seat of his ex-girlfriend’s car at about 5:00 a.m., and waited for her to come out of her South Sioux City home.  When she did, she was joined by a juvenile female.  Smith lay hidden in the car as the two women drove to a near-by school.  When the juvenile female left the car to join her athletic practice, Smith sprang on his ex-girlfriend.  He threatened her with a B.B. gun, drugged her with homemade chloroform, and kidnapped her, bringing her ultimately to a home in rural Bronson, Iowa.  Additionally, Smith told his victim that he had friends watching her family, and they would hurt her family if she resisted.  Ultimately, the victim escaped and fled. She flagged down a passing motorist who happened to be her aunt, who was in the area searching for her.

Smith was sentenced in Sioux City by United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand.  Smith was sentenced to 121 months’ imprisonment.  He must also serve a 3-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.  Smith is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.

The case was investigated by the South Sioux City, Nebraska Police Department, the Sioux City, Iowa Police Department, the Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Homeland Security Investigations. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Forde Fairchild. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 21-4068. 

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Updated September 23, 2022

Violent Crime