Kidnapping suspect arrested in West Branch waives extradition to Texas

But it remains unclear where she'll go next after Friday hearing

Published: February 14 2014 | 1:03 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 3:39 am in

UPDATE: The Colorado woman accused of kidnapping her nephew and allegedly leaving him outside a West Branch gas station last week expressed concern for her sister’s well-being on Friday.

Kristen Smith made comments in Cedar County Courthouse in Tipton through her attorney, Victoria Noel, after an extradition hearing on unrelated charges out of Texas.

Cedar County Attorney Jeffrey Renander successfully argued that the Texas warrant was still valid and that Iowa’s case to extradite her back to Texas should not be dismissed. Judge Stuart Werling agreed, and set Smith’s bond on the extradition at $50,000.

She also has a $20,000 bond for the child endangerment charge.

Smith waived extradition to Texas on Friday, but where she will go next remains uncertain. In any case, she will remain in Cedar County Jail, in isolation, for the time being either until the state of Texas takes her in custody or until federal authorities claim jurisdiction in the kidnapping case.

During her hearing, Smith, through her attorney, expressed concern for her sister and for her own children and their privacy.

Noel said Smith intends to plead not guilty to child endangerment charges.

The complaint from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin states Kayden Powell – identified in the court document as K.P. – was reported missing on Feb. 6, when he was just four days old.

Smith is accused of kidnapping the child, her nephew, from his Town of Beloit, Wis. home.

Police said Smith had been in Kayden’s home when he was last seen, and authorities contacted her on Feb. 6 on her cellphone and ordered her to pull over at the nearest gas station so they could speak with her.

Police said Smith pulled into the Kum & Go, at 620 S Downey St., and flagged down West Branch police officer Alex Koch.

Koch saw baby clothing, a car seat and stroller in Smith’s car, according to police documents. She was arrested on an arrest warrant for records tampering and fraud in Texas and taken to the Cedar County Jail.

On Feb. 7, West Branch Police Chief Mike Horihan found Kayden inside a plastic bin outside the BP station, 401 Parkside Dr. The BP station is on the north side of Interstate 80, and the Kum & Go is on the south side of the interstate.

The temperatures outside were below freezing overnight and at the time Kayden was located, though no one seems certain about how long the child was outside.

A criminal complaint charging Smith with child endangerment states Smith admitted to taking Kayden and hiding him behind the BP gas station. She also drew a map indicating where the child could be found, which she provided to police.

On Friday, Noel said Smith had been arrested in Colorado on the Texas warrant, but posted a $5,000 bond with the understanding that she would go to Texas to address those charges.

Noel, who is representing Smith only in her extradition case and child endangerment charge but not the federal kidnapping case, said she did not know the circumstances of how Smith might have come to be in Wisconsin.

Noel argued before Werling that Iowa’s extradition case should be dismissed, stating that case was redundant with Colorado also having a case involving Smith being moved to Texas. Smith does not face any other charges in Colorado, Noel said.

Noel said after the hearing she did not know if Texas would be coming to get Smith in the near future or if she would face the child endangerment charge in Iowa first. She said it was her understanding that if the U.S. Attorney’s Office wants to prosecute Smith first on the kidnapping charge, they would take her into custody.

“My understanding is the feds trump,” Noel said. “When they want to come and get someone, they can come and get someone.”

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