Kidnapping suspect Smith to be taken into federal custody, moved to Madison Friday

6-day-old child found alive outside West Branch gas station

Published: February 19 2014 | 12:44 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 3:53 am in
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The Colorado woman accused of kidnapping her newborn nephew from his Wisconsin home will be in federal custody by the end of the week.

Cedar County Attorney Jeffrey Renander said Wednesday that 31-year-old Kristen Smith will be in Madison on Friday to face federal kidnapping charges. She is currently sitting in the Cedar County Jail in Tipton on state child endangerment charges for allegedly leaving the newborn outside a West Branch gas station in freezing temperatures.

"The FBI is coming down this Friday to take her back for a hearing ... on Friday," Renander said. "That's all we know."

Smith is accused of taking Kayden Powell from his Beloit, Wis. home on Feb. 6, when the boy was four days old. Authorities have said Smith was in Powell's home at the time the baby was taken. She was contacted later that day on her cellphone and ordered to pull over and speak with law enforcement.

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.

Last Friday, Smith waived extradition on the Texas charges, clearing the way for her to be moved back there. However, on Tuesday, a representative with the Tarrant County, Tex. District Attorney's Office said they expected Smith to be taken into federal custody first.

If convicted of kidnapping, Smith would face a life sentence.

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