Suspect in kidnapping faces new charge

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Frank Schultz
Thursday, February 13, 2014

TIPTON, Iowa—The woman accused of abducting a newborn child from a town of Beloit residence last week faces a new charge in Iowa.

The Cedar County district attorney on Thursday filed a charge of child endangerment against Kristen Smith, 31, of Colorado.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Madison, said she doesn't believe the new charge will affect the federal kidnapping case.

Smith remains scheduled for a hearing Friday in Cedar County Court, where a judge is scheduled to decide whether she should be detained on a warrant stemming from a fraud case in Texas.

Smith is expected to eventually be transferred to the jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court in Wisconsin's Western District, where a grand jury would decide whether to issue an indictment charging her with kidnapping.

The grand jury's next scheduled meeting is Wednesday.

The alleged kidnapping began in the early morning hours of Feb. 6, when Brianna Marshall, who was staying with relatives in the town of Beloit, called the authorities to report her 4-day-old child, Kayden Powell, was missing.

Smith, who is Marshall's half-sister, had been visiting the family. Smith had left the residence earlier.

The Cedar County criminal complaint alleges that after authorities contacted Smith on Feb. 6 and told her to stop at the nearest gas station, she pulled into the Kum & Go in West Branch, Iowa, and flagged down a West Branch police officer.

The officer saw baby clothing, a car seat and a stroller in Smith's car, and a records check turned up the Texas arrest warrant. He took her to jail.

At about 10:06 a.m. the next day, the infant was found “wrapped in blankets inside of a plastic tote” behind a BP gas station in West Branch, in freezing temperatures, the complaint states.

Smith admitted she had taken the baby and placed him behind the gas station, the complaint states.

Smith made a map for law enforcement, showing where the baby could be found.

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