The aunt of a six-day old baby that went missing Thursday has been charged with kidnapping.
Police say Kristen Smith took the infant from her sister’s home in Beloit, Wisconsin in the early hours of Thursday morning.
A number of family members, including Kristen Smith, were staying in the home that night. Kayden’s mother woke up to find him and Smith both missing.
Police immediately began searching for both of them.
The search for 6-day old Kayden Powell ended 30 hours later on Friday morning when police found the baby outside a gas station in West Branch.
Earlier Friday morning, Smith contacted the grandmother of the child. Beloit Police were present and told Smith to pullover and flag down a local police officer.
A West Branch officer searched Smith’s vehicle and found baby clothes, a car seat, a stroller and a prosthetic pregnancy belly. But not Kayden.
To explain the contents in her car, Smith first told police she had just given birth. Those claims were later found to be false. Smith was arrested on an unrelated warrant out of Texas around 5:30 a.m.
Just 500 yards away, the child was found at a BP gas station just off Interstate-80. The West Branch police chief found the baby outside in the freezing cold temperatures at around 10:15 a.m.
“The baby seems to be healthy – breathing fine, conscious and responsive. The baby is being evaluated at a medical facility,” West Branch police Chief Mike Horihan said.
Smith faces a federal kidnapping charge for allegedly taking Kayden and transporting him across state lines. She is being held in the Cedar County Jail and if convicted, faces life in prison.
Kayden was reunited with his family Friday evening after being released from hospital.