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Newborn kidnapping: Baby boy left at freezing gas station, half-sister charged

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A newborn kidnapping has left a woman charged this week with abducting her half sister’s newborn baby boy from his Wisconsin home and then leaving him out in the freezing weather at a gas station in local Iowa. A federal grand jury in Wisconsin has returned the indictment accusing Kristen Smith in the kidnapping and near-fatal endangerment of the child; the crime carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. ABC News provides the details on this terrible act from a family member this Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, though fortunately confirms that the child was recovered alive and well.

Earlier this evening, Kristen Smith of Colorado was indicted on a number of federal charges, including the newborn kidnapping and evading the police. The official indictment does not come as a major surprise this week, considering that the FBI filed a criminal case against the woman, saying that she willfully abducted her half sister’s baby boy, Kayden Powell. Smith is further accused of later leaving the helpless infant in a plastic bin, covered in blankets, out in the freezing weather near a deserted gas station.

Since her arrest, the accused suspect has been behind bars in Iowa. According to law enforcement authorities, Smith will be transported to Wisconsin before her first official court appearance this Friday afternoon at a Madison courthouse. It has not been made clear whether she has acquired an attorney or legal defense at this time.

Investigators say that earlier this 2014, the newborn kidnapping occurred when Smith abducted baby Kayden from his home in Wisconsin. Her half sister, 18-year-old Brianna Marshall, had only recently given birth to the boy this Feb. 1. The police report notes that Marshall woke up in the middle of the night after hearing strange noises, only to discover that her newborn — as well as Smith — were gone. She immediately phoned 911.

Shortly afterward in their investigation, police called Smith via her cellphone. The female suspect in the kidnapping case was already in Iowa at the time of the call; she was ordered to pull over at a nearby gas station so that she could be questioned by police officials. Although a detective from West Branch soon located her parked vehicle as well as baby clothes and a car seat, baby boy Kayden was nowhere to be found.

Smith alleged to officers that she had no idea where the baby was, but the half sister was nonetheless taken into police custody on charges of an existing crime warrant from the woman’s stay in Texas. A full 29 hours later, the abducted newborn was discovered wrapped in blankets outside a gas station in the freezing weather. He was found only 500 yards or so from the site that Smith was originally arrested.

Fortunately, Kayden was said to be alive and well by medical officials. They said it was a “miracle” for the newborn to be all right after being exposed to the elements for such a prolonged amount of time, and did not know that a baby could have survived the cold weather.

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