Jury selection begins in alleged kidnapping case

Samuel Saeli

MAYVILLE — Jury selection is underway in an alleged kidnapping case dating back to last year.

Jurors began to be called into the courtroom Tuesday morning for the case involving 38-year-old Samuel Saeli. The Dunkirk man was charged following an August 2016 incident in which he allegedly kidnapped a 13-year-old autistic male at Walmart.

Saeli is facing a second-degree kidnapping charge, which is a Class B felony. He’s currently being held in the Chautauqua County Jail without bail.

During the evening of Aug. 14, 2016., Fredonia police officers were called to Walmart for a report of a missing 13-year-old autistic male. The parents stated they noticed the child missing and advised a store employee. Walmart initiated its missing child protocol.

Police were contacted after an extensive search of the facility by employees.

About 45 minutes later, Fredonia Police were summoned to the area of Cushing Street in the village on a report of a found child. The child was identified as the autistic male and he was reunited with his family.

After a brief interview, it was learned the child left the store with a male subject.

A review of video footage both inside and outside the store allegedly showed Saeli approaching the youth in the store, engaging in a brief conversation with him and exiting the store with the youth. The youth then allegedly entered Saeli’s vehicle and they left the parking lot.