Man charged in kidnapping case after nearly 19 years

Derrick Knutson
ECM Post Review

A former Wyoming man with a criminal past has been charged in connection with a kidnapping that allegedly happened nearly two decades ago in the city.

Chisago County Attorney Janet Reiter said Cory Daniel Smith, 38, last known residence of Brainerd, was serving a 10-year prison sentence in North Dakota on another kidnapping charge and was scheduled to be released when an outstanding warrant on his record was identified in relation to the Wyoming case.

Unconditional bail for Smith was set at $200,000. A conditional bail was set at $100,000. He is currently being housed in the Isanti County Jail, under the authority of the Chisago County Jail.

Smith’s first appearance at the Chisago County Courthouse for the kidnapping charge is at 8:30 a.m. July 1 before Judge Robert Rancourt.

The charges carry a maximum of 10 years in prison and/or a $17,000 fine.

According to the Chisago County criminal complaint:

On Nov. 21, 1995, a woman reported to the Wyoming Police Department that as she was leaving from work at McDonald’s in Forest Lake that day, she was approached by Smith, a former coworker there.

She agreed to give him a ride to the Hitching Post Motel, just north of Forest Lake on Highway 61. As they neared the motel, Smith said he had made a mistake and to keep driving north.

The woman said when they neared Wyoming Elementary School, she noticed Smith had pulled a gun from inside his coat. He demanded she drive him to the Twin Cities.

The woman reported that as she drove, she looked over at the gun, and it appeared to be made of plastic. It also had what she described as a “dolphin head where the sight should be” and red dots.

She slowed the car and turned off the road. Smith grabbed the wheel and told her the weapon was loaded.

The woman told Smith to get out of the car, which he eventually did. She also told him she was going to report the incident to police.

Wyoming police searched for Smith in the area but were unable to locate him.

Police learned Smith had been living at the Wyoming Motel and questioned his roommate and the owner of the motel.

The owner said he had seen Smith hide something in the lobby on Nov. 20; upon searching the area, he found a CO2 BB gun.

The motel owner took the gun, but later returned it to Smith. He told police Smith had moved to the Twin Cities area.

North Dakota conviction
According to an appellee brief filed May 13, 2005, in North Dakota Supreme Court in Fargo, Smith was involved in an incident that bears similarities to the alleged Wyoming kidnapping.

According to the court document:

On June 18, 2004, a woman in West Fargo called a cab driven by Smith. She gave Smith the address to her apartment complex, but Smith drove by it, stopped and got out of the vehicle.

Smith told her he wasn’t feeling well and asked the woman to feel his forehead. She did, and Smith then grabbed her by the neck and put his left hand between the door and the car seat.

A struggle ensued, with Smith brandishing a knife and telling the woman, “This is not what you think it is,” and if she kept struggling Smith would kill her.

Smith also tried to restrain the woman’s hands with zip ties.

An officer arrived, and Smith let go of the woman. She had a laceration on her face and a zip tie around one of her wrists, and Smith had blood on his shirt.