UPDATE: Woman Pleads Not guilty in Beloit Kidnapping

By: WSAW Staff/ Associated Press Email
By: WSAW Staff/ Associated Press Email
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UPDATE: Thurs 9:50 AM, Feb. 27, 2014

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A woman accused of abducting her newborn nephew in Wisconsin and abandoning him outside a gas station in Iowa has pleaded not guilty to a federal kidnapping charge.

Prosecutors say Kristen Smith of Aurora, Colo., kidnapped four-day-old Kayden Powell from the Town of Beloit home where the boy's parents were staying earlier this month.

Police arrested her at an Iowa gas station hours later and discovered the baby in a crate outside another nearby gas station the next morning. The child was alive and well despite being left in frigid temperatures for more than 24 hours.

A federal grand jury indicted her on a kidnapping count last week. She pleaded not guilty to the charge on Wednesday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker scheduled her trial to begin on June 23.

UPDATE: Fri 4:42 PM, Feb. 21, 2014

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A woman accused of kidnapping her newborn nephew and leaving him outside an Iowa gas station in frigid temperatures has made her first court appearance in Wisconsin.

A federal grand jury indicted 31-year-old Kristen Smith of Aurora, Colo., on a kidnapping charge earlier this week. Smith made her initial appearance in federal court in Madison on Friday. U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker ordered her detained while her family tries to hire an attorney.

Prosecutors allege Smith took the baby from a Town of Beloit home where her half-sister, who is the child's mother, was staying on Feb. 6.
Police caught up with Smith in West Branch, Iowa, but she didn't have the baby. Police later discovered the child alive in a crate behind a West Branch gas station.

UPDATE: Thurs. Feb. 20, 2013 11:30 AM

The U.S. Army Reserve says a woman charged with kidnapping her half sister's newborn this month was involuntarily removed from duty.

Military officials tell The Associated Press that Kristen Smith served in a Wisconsin-based Army Reserve unit from December 2011 until her discharge a year later.

A U.S. Army Reserve spokesman says that a discharge so early into an 8-year commitment usually signals major problems with one's service record or personal life. The reason for Smith's discharge cannot be divulged under Army policy.

Smith was indicted Wednesday in the Feb. 6 kidnapping of her newborn nephew, Kayden Powell. Investigators say Smith took him from a Wisconsin home where she was visiting her sister and left him in freezing temperatures in Iowa. Kayden was found alive the next day.

A federal grand jury has indicted a woman accused of kidnapping her half sister's newborn in Wisconsin and leaving him behind an Iowa gas station.

Jurors in Madison, Wis., returned the indictment Wednesday charging Kristen Smith with kidnapping, which carries a maximum prison sentence of life.

The indictment was expected after the FBI filed a criminal complaint accusing Smith in the Feb. 6 kidnapping of newborn Kayden Powell.
Smith's been jailed in Iowa since her arrest, hours after the baby went missing. Federal authorities will transfer Smith to Wisconsin before a Friday court appearance.

Investigators say Smith took the baby from a Town of Beloit, Wis., home where her half sister was staying, and left him in West Branch, Iowa, in freezing temperatures. He was found alive 29 hours later.


The defense attorney for a woman charged with kidnapping her half sister's newborn from Wisconsin, says her client hopes her half-sister is doing OK.

Attorney Victoria Noel said Friday that her client, Kristen Smith, wants to express concern for her half sister because she understands "she has gone through an ordeal."

Federal prosecutors have charged Smith with kidnapping Kayden Powell on Feb. 6 and leaving him at an Iowa gas station. She has been jailed in Iowa since her arrest last week.

Noel made the comments on Smith's behalf to reporters after a court hearing in which Smith declined to challenge her extradition on a warrant from Texas.


UPDATE: Monday 9:10 PM, Feb. 10, 2014

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The 911 recording from a missing infant's mother shows the clearly distraught woman didn't think her half-sister took the days-old infant.

Brianna Marshall tells dispatchers during the nine-minute call that her sister was in the home the night before. Marshall says she woke up and her baby was gone. But she tells dispatchers her sister wouldn't take her son.

Police later found the boy alive in a storage crate in Iowa in single-digit temperatures.

Authorities have charged Kristen R. Smith, of Denver, with kidnapping the boy.

Marshall's grandmother was in the home during the call. She tells dispatchers that Smith was gone when the boy was discovered missing from his bassinet in the Town of Beloit home.

UPDATE: Sat. 12:31 PM, Feb. 8, 2014

Authorities say a woman accused of stealing her nephew from their Town of Beloit home had pretended to be pregnant.

An hour after Kayden Powell was reported missing, police found the Kristen Smith, 31 in West Branch, Iowa. Court documents say officers discovered a prosthetic pregnancy belly, baby clothes and a stroller in the half-sister's car. But there was no sign of the newborn, Kayden Powell.

It would be another day before authorities discovered the missing infant in a plastic storage crate outside an Iowa gas station, alive and well, despite frigid temperatures.

Federal prosecutors in Madison charged Smith with kidnapping Friday afternoon. The charges came hours after an Iowa police chief miraculously found Kayden, who was swaddled in blankets.


UPDATE: Fri 4:12 PM, Feb. 7, 2014

U.S. Attorney John Vaudreuil filed a charge of kidnapping against Kristin Smith, 31, of Denver, hours after an Iowa police chief discovered six-day-old Kayden Powell alive and well in a plastic storage bin outside a West Branch, Iowa, gas station.

The newborn disappeared from the Town of Beloit house where he was staying with his mother early Thursday morning. Police arrested Smith hours later at a gas station about a half-mile from the station where the newborn was found.

Smith faces life in prison if she's convicted.


TOWN OF BELOIT, Wis. (AP) -- Police say a newborn missing from a southern Wisconsin home has been found alive at an eastern Iowa gas station.

Town of Beloit Police Chief Steven Kopp says an officer checking along an interstate near West Branch, Iowa, found the nearly week-old Kayden Powell on Friday morning.

Gas station manager Jay Patel says the baby was found in a closed, gray plastic storage bin and that the FBI took it and surveillance video from the station.

No arrests have been made in connection to the baby.

Authorities say the child appears to be in good condition and has been taken to a hospital for evaluation. They had been looking for the baby since early Thursday when his mother discovered him missing from a bassinette in a Town of Beloit home.

UPDATE: Fri 11:25 AM, Feb. 7, 2014

Six-day-old Kayden Powell has been found alive outside a gas station in West Branch, Iowa.

Powell was taken from his bassinet at his Town of Beloit home early Thursday morning. His mother awoke at 4:30 a.m. to find the bassinet empty.

Powell's aunt Kristin Smith, 31, was arrested in West Branch, Iowa Thursday morning. She remains in the Cedar County Jail. Police have called Smith a person of interest, but have not yet confirmed she'll be charged with Powell's disappearance.

Kayden Powell was found around 10:15 a.m. Friday morning in West Branch. Someone heard the infant crying and found him in the tote bag outside a gas station. It is unclear how long the infant had been outside.

The FBI says Kayden will be evaluated at hospital, but he is reported to be in good health. An effort is underway to reunite him with his parents.

G.B. Jones of the FBI said "It's days like today, why many of us do what we do," during a press conference Friday morning in the Town of Beloit.

UPDATE: Thurs 3:34 PM, Feb. 6, 2014

Police say a home where a five-day-old baby was taken from had no sign of forced entry.

Eight people had been in the home 12 hours prior to Kayden Powell's disappearance. All have been interviewed and have been cooperative, according to police.

One of the people interviewed, Kristen Smith, was arrested around 5:30 this morning in Iowa. According to WMTV-TV, she is not a suspect in the case.

Beloit Police say at this time they do not have a suspect.

UPDATE: Thurs. 2:25 PM, Feb. 6, 2014

Town Police Chief Steven Kopp says the 18-year-old mother, Brianna Marshall, and the infant's 23-year-old father, Bruce Powell, were staying at the house. Kopp tells The Janesville Gazette investigators are questioning people who were at the house Wednesday night.

Kopp says the incident is not believed to be a custody dispute. The chief says an Amber Alert was not issued because the disappearance doesn't meet the criteria.

The FBI and Wisconsin Department of Justice are assisting with the investigation.

ORIGINAL STORY: Thurs 9:36 PM, Feb. 6, 2014

TOWN OF BELOIT, Wis. (AP) -- Authorities are searching for a newborn missing from a Town of Beloit home.

Police say the mother of the baby called 911 about 4:30 a.m. Thursday to report the missing five-day-old child.

Town Police Chief Steven Kopp tells The Janesville Gazette that two people at the baby's home Wednesday night are being questioned, but there have been no arrests. The FBI is getting involved in the case. FBI spokesman Leonard Peace says local law enforcement officials requested the agency's assistance. He would not comment on whether authorities believe the child was taken across state lines.

The Rock County Sheriff's Department and Beloit police are also working with town officers on the investigation.

Kayden Powell's Aunt, Kristen Smith

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