Woman charged with kidnapping after missing Wisconsin baby found

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A Colorado woman was charged with kidnapping after a baby was found at a West Branch, Iowa gas station.

According to an affidavit, 31-year-old Kristen Smith from Colorado, was charged with the kidnapping of a baby who was just days old when he was reported missing from his Beloit, Wisconsin home on Thursday, February 6, 2014.

If found guilty, Smith could face a maximum of life in prison.

Officials say the baby, Kayden Powell, was reported missing by his mother, 18-year-old Brianna Marshall, after she woke up around 4:30 a.m. and found that Kayden was gone from his bassinette.

Marshall told police that Smith, her sister, had been at her Wisconsin home and had planned to leave at 2 a.m. Thursday to drive back to Colorado.

Before 5 a.m. on Thursday, Beloit Police spoke with Smith, who was on her way back to Colorado. She was instructed to pull over at the nearest gas station so that local police could speak with her about the missing child. Smith contacted police around 5:30 a.m. once she arrived at a Kum and Go gas station in West Branch, Iowa.

Court records show that a West Brach police officer searched Smith’s car but did not find Kayden. The officer did find baby clothes, a stroller, and a fake pregnancy belly.

The officer searched Smith's phone and email records showed that Smith had stated she gave birth on February 5, 2014. Police say she did not appear pregnant, had not appeared pregnant while in Wisconsin, and was pregnancy tested and was not pregnant.

Smith had an arrest warrant from Texas for an unrelated crime and was taken into custody in the Cedar County Jail.

Shortly after 10 a.m. on Friday, a West Branch Police Officer found Kayden behind a BP gas station wrapped in blankets inside of a plastic tote box. Officers suspect the baby was in the tote for several hours.

According to court records, Smith later admitted to police that she took Kayden from her sister’s Wisconsin home and had placed him behind the West Branch gas station.

Smith was held at the Cedar County Jail.