UPDATE: Kidnapping Suspect in Own Cell; 9-1-1 Tapes Released

By: Marissa Sherer; WIFR Newsroom; AP
By: Marissa Sherer; WIFR Newsroom; AP
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TOWN OF BELOIT (WIFR) – We’re hearing the frantic 9-1-1 call made the moment a local mom found out her newborn baby was missing.

31-year-old Kristen Smith is charged with kidnapping after missing newborn Kayden Powell was found alive Friday after he was missing for nearly 30 hours. The FBI alleges Smith took her half-sister’s son and left him outside an Iowa gas station before being arrested on Thursday. Right now, Smith is in her own jail cell for safety reasons.


TOWN OF BELOIT (WIFR) -- It’s been a day of rest and reunion for the parents of Kayden Powell, the newborn who was taken from his home in the town of Beloit on Thursday.

The family of three is in Chicago spending some much needed quality time together. It’s a story that has tugged on the heartstrings of many parents and the community around Beloit has joined in the family's celebration. The sign in the window says it all: “Welcome home Kayden Powell”. That message from the newborn's family has echoed by many throughout the town of Beloit

“I'm just glad that sweet baby is home with his parents where he belongs," says Beloit township neighbor Patty Walker.

The week old baby was separated from his parents, 18-year-old Brianna Marshall and 23-year-old Bruce Powell, for more than 30 hours. Around 4:30am Thursday morning, some one snatched Kayden from his crib inside his great grandmother's house on homeland court. It was a crime that astounded parents across the Stateline, and seemed like everyone in the Stateline who followed the case, let out a collective sigh of relief when Kayden was found on Friday. It was the police chief in West Branch, IA, who found the newborn alive and well inside of a tote bag at a gas station. Many who watched the story unfold called the discovery a miracle.

“That was truly amazing that he had the inclination to even look in that thing. That’s just wonderful," says Jerry Wilson from the town of Beloit.

Kayden was reunited with his parents Friday night and his family says they're grateful for the well wishes that have come from neighbors around town and across the country.

“I thank the, all you guys and everyone that helped, to all the friends and moral support we got from everybody," says Kayden’s uncle Matt Bennett.

Kristen Smith, Kayden's aunt, is charged with his kidnapping. She was wanted in Texas and was arrested at a different gas station in West Branch, IA, a full day before the baby was found. If found guilty of the kidnapping, she could spend the rest of her life in prison.

TOWN OF BELOIT, Wis. (AP) -- Federal prosecutors have charged a Denver woman with kidnapping a newborn from a southern Wisconsin home.

U.S. Attorney John Vaudreuil filed the charge against Kristen Smith on Friday afternoon, hours after an Iowa police chief discovered the nearly week-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.



THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Federal prosecutors charged a Denver woman on Friday with kidnapping her half-sister's newborn boy from a Wisconsin home hours after police discovered the infant in a storage crate outside an Iowa gas station, alive and well in single-digit weather.

Kristin Smith faces life in prison if she's convicted of kidnapping Kayden Powell, who's nearly a week old.

The newborn's parents reported him missing from the Town of Beloit home in southern Wisconsin where the family was staying early Thursday morning. According to an affidavit accompanying the kidnapping charge, Smith is the mother's half-sister and had come to visit the family in Wisconsin. She left the home early Thursday morning. Several hours later the newborn's mother reported the baby missing.

Police arrested Smith at a West Branch, Iowa, gas station on Thursday morning on an outstanding warrant from an unrelated case in Texas. The baby was not in the car, although she had baby clothes, a fake pregnancy belly and a stroller with her, according to the affidavit. Hundreds of officers in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa, meanwhile, began searching possible stops on her route.

West Branch Police Chief Mike Horihan was searching the area around a BP gas station off Interstate 80 -- about 500 yards from the Kum & Go station where Smith was arrested -- when he heard cries that led him to a closed storage crate alongside the building. The baby was inside the crate, swaddled in a blanket but healthy and responsive.

West Branch is about 180 miles southwest of the Town of Beloit.

"I had tears in my eyes," BP station manager Jay Patel said, recalling his reaction to the police chief telling him that the infant had been found. "It's good news but it's sad, too."

Milwaukee FBI Acting Special Agent-In-Charge G.B. Jones said the effort now is "clearly focused on reuniting mother and child and the rest of the family members with the child."

It's unclear how long the newborn was outside in the cold, Jones said. The temperature was about minus 10 Thursday night in the town and only in the single digits when the child was found. The infant was taken to an area hospital for evaluation, Horihan said.

The baby's great-grandfather, Brian Bennett, said he was "surprised" the child was in good condition.

"It's funny he lived that long outside. A miracle, I guess," Bennett, 68, said. "They were just lucky they found him."
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Foley reported from West Branch, Iowa.



IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- A Wisconsin infant who was abducted and left out in the cold in Iowa has been reunited with his parents and is on his way home.

Kayden Powell's mother discovered him missing early Thursday morning from his bassinet in a Town of Beloit home. Police found him tucked in a storage crate outside an Iowa gas station in frigid temperatures more than 24 hours later.

A spokeswoman for University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City says Kayden is in good condition and was discharged from the hospital Friday evening.

Hospital spokeswoman Jennifer Brown says the nearly week-old baby is with his parents and heading back to Wisconsin.

Kayden's aunt has been charged in his disappearance.


TOWN OF BELOIT (WIFR) – The missing Town of Beloit infant has been found alive and abandoned inside a duffle bag outside an Iowa gas station this morning and now the baby’s aunt has just been charged with kidnapping the baby boy.

31-year-old Kristen Smith is accused of stealing Kayden Powell from a home in Beloit early Thursday morning, before taking him to Iowa. You may remember, Police originally said Smith was found with baby clothes in her car. She now faces life in prison for federal kidnapping.

We spoke with family members today who were overcome with emotion after hearing Kayden was found alive.

Tears of joy and relief were Mark Bennett’s reaction after finding out his six day old nephew Kayden Powell, who went missing early Thursday morning, is alive and healthy.

The nearly 30 hour search by local and federal authorities didn’t end in Beloit, rather about 130 miles away in West Branch Iowa.

Investigators say the police chief was searching outside the gas station off I-80 around 10:15 this morning and heard Kayden crying. He was inside a duffle bag, swaddled in clothes alive and healthy.

“It’s very unique and very special and I’m just glad everything seems to be fine. The baby seems to be doing just fine,” said West Branch Police Chief Mike Horihan.
Kristen Smith, the baby’s aunt, is now charged with kidnapping the infant, but there are still a lot of questions.

“We don’t know how long the baby was outside. There are a lot of things we don’t know in this investigation. It will persist until we have a lot of those questions answered,” said FBI Special Agent G.B. Jones.

At this point, all baby Kayden’s family cares about is getting him back home.

This morning, police were working on reuniting mom and dad with their baby.

The manager of the gas station where Kayden was found says the baby was in a plastic storage bin. You may remember, Smith was arrested yesterday morning at a gas station. It was about half a mile from the station where Kayden was found.


WISCONSIN (WIFR) -- A Colorado woman has been charged with kidnapping in the case of a Beloit baby that had been missing for over 24 hours since Thursday.

According to a complaint filed with the U.S. District Attorney's office, 31-year-old Kristen Smith took the infant from a home in the Town of Beloit and took the child to Iowa. She was arrested yesterday in Iowa on unrelated charges. She is currently being held at the Cedar County Jail.

Six-day-old Kayden Powell was recovered earlier this morning. The West Branch police chief found him outside a gas station in West Branch, Iowa.

If Smith is convicted, she would face up to life in prison.


TOWN OF BELOIT (WIFR) -- A six-day-old boy has been found safe and healthy after going missing early Thursday morning. Police say the infant, Kayden Powell, was found inside a bag, wrapped in clothes outside a gas station off I-80 in Iowa.

Police say it's the same gas station where they arrested Kristen Smith on Thursday morning. She was wanted on a warrant out of Texas. She's the baby's aunt. Smith's family says she was going back to her home in Colorado. She is now being called a "person of interest" in the case.

Investigators say an officer was canvassing the area when he heard the baby's cries coming from the duffel bag. Despite the freezing temperatures, paramedics say the baby is in good health. Police aren't sure how long the infant was outside before he was found.

The parents are now being reunited with baby Kayden.

The investigation is ongoing.


TOWN OF BELOIT (WIFR) -- A six-day-old boy has been found safe and alive in a duffel bag near a gas station off of I-80.

Kayden Powell is currently on his way to reunite with his parents. Authorities are currently holding a press conference on his recovery. We will update when we have all details confirmed.


TOWN OF BELOIT (WIFR) -- Authorities will be holding a press conference from the Town of Beloit on the missing six-day-old boy. We will stream this live on WIFR and wifr.com.

According to police, there are no suspects nor arrests at this time in the disappearance of Kayden Powell.

Police say about 40 officers are working on the case.

According to authorities, the baby's 18-year-old mother called 911 around 4:30 a.m. Thursday. She found the child missing from his basinette in a room where the mother was sleeping in the Town of Beloit.

The infant's mother and father are both cooperating with police. The home where the baby was last seen continues to be processed for evidence.


TOWN OF BELOIT (WIFR) – We’re continuing to follow a story out of the Town of Beloit where Police have roped off a house where they say a 5-day-old infant boy was taken from the home early this morning.

Right now, no suspects are in custody, however the FBI and multiple police departments are on the case.

It’s a parent’s worst nightmare having their baby disappear in the middle of the night. Police say the family is cooperating and there is still a lot of activity going on at the house on Homeland Court where Kayden Powell disappeared.

Police say they don’t have any suspects at this time. They interviewed a number of people, including the parents and two others who were in the home when Kayden was found missing around 4:30 this morning.

No one seems to have any clue who could have taken the baby. Police say there were no signs of forced entry into the home. Right now, authorities say time is of the essence.

“Obviously you know in this case, a 5-day-old baby can’t take care of itself. We’ve got frigid temperatures out and it’s just a frantic search to try to locate this baby,” said Town of Beloit Police Chief Steve Kopp.

A woman was arrested this morning in Iowa on a warrant. The great-uncle of the child says she’s a stepsister to one of the parents, but police say she is not a suspect.


UPDATE: TOWN OF BELOIT (WIFR) -- Police are still looking for a baby that went missing early Thursday morning from a home in the Town of Beloit.

At this time, police do not have any suspects in this case. So far, 8 people have been interviewed and all of them were known to be in the house within 12 hours of the time 5-day-old Kayden Powell was reported missing. Police say all eight people they have interviewed have been cooperative.

One of those people was Kristen Smith, a woman who was arrested around 5:30 this morning in West Branch, Iowa. She is not a suspect in this case.

There were four people at the home when the baby was reported missing, the mother, the father, a brother of the mother, and a great grandmother of the child.

Police say there was no forced entry in the home and police say it is still an active search.

40 investigators from four agencies (Town of Beloit, City of Beloit, Rock County Sheriff, and FBI) are working on this case.

Anyone with information on this incident can contact the Town of Beloit Police Department at 608-757-2244, or Greater Beloit Crimestoppers at 608-362-7463.


UPDATE: TOWN OF BELOIT (WIFR) -- Police are trying to locate a 5 day-old baby boy who went missing from a home in the Town of Beloit early Thursday morning.

Town of Beloit Police Chief Steve Kopp says the mother of Kayden Powell contacted police immediately after she woke up around 4:30 Thursday morning in a home located in the 800 block of Homeland Court when she discovered her son was gone. The home belongs to the great-grandmother of the infant.

According to police an Amber Alert has not been issued because the case does not meet the criteria at this time. Right now, police say no one is in custody and they do not have a possible vehicle description. Law enforcement have brought 4 people in for questioning including both parents, another family member, and a friend.

Along with Beloit police, the FBI, the Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation, and the Rock County Sheriff's Department are also involved in the search.

Anyone with information on this incident can contact the Town of Beloit Police Department at 608-757-2244, or Greater Beloit Crimestoppers at 608-362-7463.


TOWN OF BELOIT, Wis. (AP) -- Federal and state law enforcement agencies are helping local authorities in a search for a 5-day-old baby in Rock County.

Authorities say the newborn's mother called 911 after waking about 4:30 a.m. Thursday to find the child, Kayden Powell, missing from his bassinette in a room where she was sleeping at a home in the Town of Beloit.

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 (http://bit.ly/1gPPBSJ ) 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.


TOWN OF BELOIT (WIFR) -- Police are trying to locate a 4 day-old baby who went missing from a home in the Town of Beloit early Thursday morning.

Town of Beloit Police Chief Steve Kopp says the mother of Kayden Powell contacted police immediately after woke up around 4:30 Thursday morning in her home located in the 800 block of Homeland Court when she discovered her son was gone.

Police do not have any suspects in custody nor a possible vehicle description but did bring in two people who were at the home last night for questioning.

Along with Beloit police, the FBI, the Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation, and the Rock County Sheriff's Department are also involved in the search.


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