Kristen Smith of Denver, Colorado has been arrested for the kidnapping of Kayden Powell, the newborn baby son of her step-sister in Wisconsin, after having faked her pregnancy.

Kristen Smith

Photo: Kristen Smith




This disturbing case of interstate kidnapping of the newborn of a relative by a woman who had faked her pregnancy, may sound like a crime drama, but all of the players — the victims and alleged perpetrator alike — are real, as events unfolded in freezing cold temperatures in February in the heartland of America.

It has resulted in the arrest of Kristen Smith (mugshot photo above) of Denver, Colorado, whose full name is Kristen Rose Smith.

Here’s how it all unfolded, according to the official court document, a sworn affidavit.

In Beloit, Wisconsin Brianna Marshall called 911 at around 4:30 a.m. on Thursday to report that her newborn baby son, Kayden Powell, was missing. She discovered him missing from his bassinet in the very room where she, her boyfriend and the child had been sleeping.

Marshall told police officers who arrived on the scene that Kristen R. Smith, (as she is named in the sworn affidavit) her sister from Colorado had been at the house earlier with plans to leave at 2 a.m. that morning to drive back to Denver. Smith called her grandmother, who was at Marshall’s house while police were still there. One of the officers spoke to her on the phone and told her to pull over at the nearest gas station for questioning.

When police questioned Kristen Smith at the Kum & Go gas station in West Branch, Iowa, they searched her car and that was when they found she had a prosthetic pregnancy belly, baby clothes, a stroller, and a car seat but not the missing baby, Kayden Powell.

However, she was arrested and taken into custody at Cedar County Jail in Tipton, Iowa because she had an arrest warrant from Texas on an unrelated crime.

While in custody both FBI and Iowa state investigators questioned her about the missing newborn baby. At the time she denied knowing where the baby was. She consented to a search of her car, cell phone and Facebook account. Investigators found emails in which she said she had given birth on February 5, which was a day before the incident in question. Police also found her Facebook postings in which she said she was pregnant. She was given a pregnancy test which came back negative.

She was given a polygraph test which she failed when questioned about the missing baby; she made false claims about his whereabouts.

Meanwhile, in mid-morning on Friday, a little more than 24 hours after the baby was first reported missing, he was found by a police officer in West Branch, Iowa behind a BP gas station which was approximately 500 yards away from where Smith had been first questions and arrested by police. It was the culmination of a massive search for the baby, encompassing three states; Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois.

As seen in the news report below, the baby, Kayden Powell was found out in an open field in the snow, wrapped up in blankets and inside a plastic tote box. Despite the extreme cold temperatures, the infant — less than a week old — was found to be healthy, after having been examined at a hospital in Iowa City. Media reports indicate that temperatures had dropped below zero overnight and were in the single digits when the baby was found that morning. Briana Marshall and her boyfriend, Bruce Powell, identified him as their child.

Investigators questioned Kristen Smith again, after the infant had been found. She admitted she had taken the baby from her sister in Wisconsin and admitted that she had put him in the tote box behind the gas station. She also gave them a hand-drawn map indicating where the baby was.

Kristen Rose Smith has now been charged with kidnapping and transporting of a child across state lines from Wisconsin to Iowa. She is currently held at the Cedar County jail. The felony charges carry a sentence of life imprisonment.

The full court document obtained by CBS 2 is here

As for the Kristen Smith biography details, it is being reported in that she has a criminal history and has uses several names. In addition to the charge in Texas — reportedly a felony — it’s being reported that she was previously jailed in Colorado. While the particulars of her age and profession have not been uncovered, the kidnapping incident is highly disturbing, and it is not the last we will hear of it, as the case makes its way through the legal system.

Check back for updates. A video report is below.