Police interviewing family in infant's disappearance

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Neil Johnson
Thursday, February 6, 2014

TOWN OF BELOIT—Police late Thursday reported no hard leads in the reported disappearance of a 5-day-old infant from the bedroom where he was sleeping with his mother.

Police were trying to locate anyone who had any contact with Kayden Powell since he was born Saturday, town of Beloit Police Chief Steve Kopp said. The baby's mother, Brianna Marshall, 18, found him missing from his bassinet when she woke at about 4:34 a.m. Thursday.

Kopp said Marshall reported the incident as an apparent abduction.

Police in Iowa took the baby's aunt into custody later Thursday for questioning. She had been visiting the residence at 836 E. Homeland Court and left at about 1:30 a.m. Thursday. That was about the last time people at the residence saw the baby, Kopp said.

Kopp said police reached the woman on her cellphone Thursday as she was driving near West Branch, Iowa, which is along Interstate 80 about 180 miles southwest of Beloit. Police asked the woman to pull over. An officer took the woman into custody after learning she had an outstanding Texas warrant accusing her of fraud, Kopp said.

The baby was not with the woman when police found her, and the baby had not been located as of Thursday afternoon, Kopp said. It's not clear why the aunt left early Thursday morning. She apparently is a Colorado resident and was visiting after the baby was born, Kopp said.

The woman was being questioned along with four other people who had been staying at the residence Wednesday night, Kopp said.

Kopp said during a press conference Thursday night that investigations were ongoing and that "approximately 40 officers, detectives and agents have been identifying, locating and interviewing family members, friends and others who have had contact with Kayden."

As of 6 p.m. Thursday there were no suspects and no arrests had been made, Kopp said.

The residence is owned by Shirley J. Bennett, according to tax records. Kopp said Bennett is the baby's great-grandmother.

Marshall and the baby's father, Bruce Powell, 23, of Beloit, were at the residence at the time the baby was reported missing, along with Bennett and Marshall's brother. They were among those being questioned. They were cooperative, and the parents were “very distraught and upset,” Kopp said.

The parents had been staying at the residence because a person who lives with them at their Beloit home was ill and they didn't want to expose the newborn baby to the sick person, Kopp said.

Investigators don't believe the incident is a child custody dispute, and there weren't any signs of forced entry to the residence. No one in or around the house heard or saw anything suspicious, Kopp said.

Town of Beloit police, city of Beloit police, the FBI, the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation and the Rock County Sheriff's Office were cooperating in the investigation.

Kopp said the baby's aunt was the only one in custody. There were no suspects in the baby's disappearance and no clues as to where the baby might have gone, Kopp said.

“There's not really enough to know. We're gathering as much information as we can. The investigation hasn't gone in any particular direction,” Kopp said.

Authorities on Thursday afternoon cordoned off the residence with police tape. Kopp said investigators planned to use a search warrant to go through the residence and “properly process the scene.”

The baby was born at Beloit Memorial Hospital. He is African-American, 20 inches long, 6 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes, according to police.

Police did not issue an Amber Alert because the incident did not meet the criteria, Kopp said. He said police didn't have any suspect or vehicle description, so there was nothing for the public to look for.

Gazette reporter Shelly Birkelo contributed to this report.

Last updated: 6:47 am Thursday, February 6, 2014

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