Woman Faked Pregnancy, Then Kidnapped Newborn in Wisconsin

Kristen Smith

Kristen Smith

A Colorado woman who pretended to be pregnant kidnapped her 6-day-old nephew from Beloit, Wis. before being arrested in Iowa Friday, according to prosecutors and police.

The baby, Kayden Powell, was found wrapped in blankets inside a tote bag near a gas station off Interstate 80 near West Branch, Iowa at around 10:15 a.m., officials said. The baby appeared to be in good health despite being outside in frigid weather, police said at a news conference.

Kristen Smith, 31, of Denver, was charged with kidnapping, prosecutors announced Friday afternoon.

Smith was with the baby’s mother and other family members at a Beloit home, according to court documents. Kayden’s mother, Brianna Marshall, 18, told police she woke up Thursday morning and found the baby missing from his bassinet.

Smith was located in Iowa, where police found she had an arrest warrant out of Texas on unrelated charges. Her car contained baby clothing, a stroller and a car seat, but not the infant. Initially, Smith denied any knowledge of the baby’s whereabouts, according to court documents.

After police searched her cell phone and Facebook account, investigators found messages from Smith claiming to be pregnant before giving birth on Wednesday, one day before the baby disappeared. Officers also found a prosthetic pregnancy belly in Smith’s vehicle, according to court documents.

Officers later found the baby near the gas station, according to the documents.

“Despite frigid temperatures, Kayden was found alive and appears to be doing very well,” Steven Kopp, police chief for the town of Beloit, said at a news conference. “In the words of EMS officials, he is in excellent health.”


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