Texas authorities said they are willing to retrieve kidnapping suspect Kristen Smith so she can face fraud charges there, but are operating on the assumption she’ll soon be in federal custody.
“Technically, she’s awaiting extradition to Texas,” said Melody McDonald, media and information officer for the Tarrant County, Tex. District Attorney’s Office. “However, the federal case has priority. My understanding is Iowa is awaiting instruction from the federal authorities before they would release her to Texas officials.”
“The federal charges take priority,” she added. “(Tarrant County authorities) will go and get her unless federal authorities take her into custody first.”
For his part, Cedar County attorney Jeffrey Renander said he’s waiting to hear from Texas and federal authorities in Wisconsin to see what happens next with Smith. For the time being, she remains in custody in the Cedar County jail on a $20,000 bond for child endangerment and a $50,000 bond on her fugitive from justice charge out of Texas. Last Friday, Smith waived extradition back to Texas.
“I just told them what happened last Friday and now it’s up to them,” Renander said of the Texas and federal officials. “I have not heard anything new.”
Smith, 31, of Colorado, is accused of kidnapping her nephew, Kayden Powell, on Feb. 6, when he was just four days old.
Authorities said Smith had been in Kayden’s Beloit, Wis. 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 Drive. 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.
A message left with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Wisconsin’s western district was not returned on Tuesday. If convicted of kidnapping, Smith would face a sentence of life in prison.