IOWA CITY, Iowa — The doctor who cared for a 6-day-old town of Beloit, Wis., baby found outside in West Branch Friday morning is stunned, not only that Kayden Powell survived, but that he seems completely unharmed.
Kayden was discharged from the University of Iowa Children's Hospital just seven hours after he was admitted. His doctor said it's miraculous.
"I would expect to have found a dead baby, to be honest with you," Dr. Jeffrey Segar told WISN-TV.
Kayden was rushed to the emergency room, with word already spreading of his discovery after hours in the bitter cold. Segar said he expected hypothermia, frostbite, or worse, but he found none of it.
The newborn didn't need to be rewarmed. He was fed upon arrival and he fed very vigorously.
"He was hungry," Segar said.
WEST BRANCH | Authorities found a missing six-day-old baby Friday morning in West Branch.
Kayden Powell was found at 10:15 a.m. Friday in a plastic crate, wrapped in blankets at a BP station, 401 Parkside Dr., West Branch, just off Interstate 80 exit 254. The child is said to be in excellent health.
The baby was examined at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clincs and has been released.
Kayden was reported missing about 4:30 a.m. Thursday from his home in the town of Beloit, Wis. The initial investigation indicated the baby’s mother, Brianna Marshall, woke up and found the baby missing.
The BP station where Kayden was found is on the same street as another gas station where West Branch police arrested Kristen Rose Smith, 31, of Denver on Thursday. She was being held on a warrant out of Texas in regard to tampering with government records and fraud.
On Friday, John Vaudreuil, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, in Madison, charged Smith with kidnapping. If convicted of the federal kidnapping charge, Smith will face a maximum penalty of life in federal prison.
Smith told authorities she had put the baby behind the gas station, according to the complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney. She drew a map, after the baby had been found.
Smith is the half-sister of Marshall, the baby’s mother.
FBI spokeswoman Sandra Breault in Omaha, Neb., would not comment on where the baby was during the 24-plus hours before he was found.
The low temperature in Friday morning in Iowa City was 11 degrees below zero, with a wind chill of 23 degrees below zero, according to the National Weather Service in the Quad Cities. The wind chill was 30 degrees below zero just before 8 a.m. Thursday.
“I think miracle comes into play in this one if it was outside for 29 hours,” said Dr. Joshua Stilley, an emergency medicine physician at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
A baby without clothing would die within minutes in that kind of weather, Stilley said. The blankets must have wrapped Kayden up well enough to contain the heat, and the container and the positioning next to the gas station may have helped block the wind, he said.
Jay Patel was working in the BP station about 10 a.m. Friday when West Branch Police Chief Mike Horihan came in and asked if Patel, the manager, had heard about the missing baby. Patel gave Horihan permission to look around outside the store.
As Horihan walked around the north side of the building, he heard crying and lifted the lid of a plastic box on the ground, Patel said.
Within minutes, Horihan had called the FBI and an ambulance service, which picked up the baby, Patel said.
Patel had been working at the store all morning and hadn’t seen anything suspicious, he told The Gazette.
“I see people come and go, but I didn’t see anything” related to the baby, he said.
Finding the child alive is close to a miracle, Patel said.
“It’s exciting that the baby was still alive in this cold weather,” he said.
Related: Woman charged with kidnapping newborn found in West Branch
8:15 p.m. - TOWN OF BELOIT, Wis. (AP) — A woman who pretended to be pregnant stole her half-sister's newborn boy from a Wisconsin home and left him in a storage crate outside an Iowa gas station in frigid temperatures as police closed in, according to court documents filed Friday.
Federal prosecutors in Madison charged Kristen Smith of Denver with kidnapping Friday afternoon, hours after an Iowa police chief miraculously discovered Kayden Powell, who is nearly a week old, alive and well in the plastic storage crate that morning. Police had found a prosthetic pregnancy belly in Smith's car along with baby clothes, a car seat and a stroller, but no sign of Kayden, according to the affidavit.
The discovery of the infant shortly after 10 a.m. Friday capped a frantic search that involved scores of police officers in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa.
"He's strong," the newborn's great-uncle, Mark Bennett, said of the boy. "I'm glad that baby is still living instead of in a ditch somewhere on a strange highway."
Online court records didn't list Smith's case or a defense attorney Friday evening. She faces life in prison if convicted.
According to police and the affidavit, the boy's mother, Brianna Marshall, called police around 4:30 a.m. Thursday to report her newborn had vanished from his bassinet in Bennett's home, where she and the baby's father, Bruce Powell, had been staying.
She said Smith had been at the house but left a couple hours earlier to return to Colorado. Police contacted Smith on her cellphone and told her to pull over for questioning. A police officer met her at a Kum & Go gas station near Interstate 80 in West Branch, Iowa. She was arrested about 5:30 a.m. on an outstanding Texas warrant.
The affidavit said when police found the prosthetic pregnancy belly and other items in Smith's car, she denied any knowledge of Kayden's whereabouts. A search of her cellphone revealed emails in which she said she gave birth on Feb. 5, according to the document. A search of her Facebook page turned up postings in which she claimed she was pregnant.
Smith didn't appear pregnant, according to the affidavit. A pregnancy test that was administered while she was in custody came back negative, U.S. Attorney John Vaudreuil said. Smith also failed a lie-detector test regarding Kayden's location, eventually saying that the infant's parents had given the infant to another family member in Chicago, the prosecutor said.
Meanwhile, dozens of police officers began searching for the child at possible stop-offs along Smith's route from Wisconsin to Iowa. West Branch Police Chief Mike Horihan decided to check the area around a BP station about 500 yards from the station where Smith was arrested. He heard a baby's cries and discovered Kayden in a closed storage crate alongside the building. The newborn was swaddled in blankets and was responsive and healthy, the chief said.
"I had tears in my eyes," BP station manager Jay Patel said, recalling his reaction to the police chief telling him that the infant had been found. "It's good news but it's sad, too."
Temperatures in West Branch, about 180 miles southwest of the Town of Beloit, dipped below zero Thursday night into Friday. They were still in the single digits when the baby was found.
"Surprisingly with the weather the way it was, he was surprisingly healthy," Horihan, the Iowa police chief, said. "To be honest with you, that's not what I expected."
The baby was transported to an Iowa City hospital, where he was reunited with his parents and released Friday evening.
Police interviewed Smith again in jail after the baby was found at the gas station, the affidavit said. She told officers she took the boy from her sister's home and put him behind the BP station and she offered a hand-drawn map of where the baby was found, the affidavit said.
Bennett, the baby's great-uncle, told The Associated Press he came home on Thursday night to find a black SUV with Illinois license plates parked in front of his house. Inside he found his mother, the baby's mother and father, and a woman he had never met. His mother introduced her as Brianna Marshall's stepsister, he said, explaining later that the two women had the same father but different mothers.
He said he never learned Smith's name and went straight to his room in the basement. When he woke up, the baby and Smith were gone.
He kept telling Marshall that Smith had to have taken the child but Marshall refused to believe it, he said. The baby's bassinet was 2 feet from the parents' bed and he found a paring knife on the ground next to the bed.
"I could have woke up to a bloody mess," Bennett said.
He questioned how Smith could have taken the baby without waking the couple. He said he hopes she gets locked up for life.
"You stole him like you're stealing something from the grocery store," the great-uncle said. "Nobody in their right mind should have thought of that."
Smith appears to go by multiple names and has had run-ins with the law in multiple states, authorities said. The Texas warrant stems from a felony indictment charging her with tampering with government documents late last year while she was in jail in Colorado.
A spokesman for the Arapahoe County, Colo., sheriff's office declined to discuss the details of her arrest there. A spokeswoman for the district attorney's office in Tarrant County, Texas, said it's not clear why Colorado authorities released Smith instead of sending her back to Texas.
Foley reported from West Branch, Iowa. Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York and writer Taylor W. Anderson in Madison, Wis., contributed to this report.
Earlier: Missing Wisconsin newborn found alive at West Branch gas station
2:15 p.m. - WEST BRANCH, Iowa -- Wisconsin authorities confirm a missing 6-day-old baby has been found safe at a gas station in West Branch.
Wisconsin authorities say Kayden Powell was found at 10:15 a.m. Friday in a duffle bag at the BP gas station just off the Interstate 80 exit for West Branch. The child is said to be in excellent health.
The baby was found across the street from a gas station where police arrested a person of interest in his disappearance Thursday. West Branch Police arrested Kristen Rose Smith of Denver, Colo., Thursday. She is currently being held on an unrelated warrant out of Texas.
A release from the Town of Beloit police department in Wisconsin said Powell was reported missing around 4:30 a.m. Thursday from a home at 836 East homeland Court in the Town of Beloit. The initial investigation indicated the baby's mother, Brianna Marshall, woke up and found the baby, Kayden J. Powell, missing.
Earlier: Infant missing in Wisconsin, person of interest arrested in West Branch
2/6 - 5:30 p.m. - WEST BRANCH, Iowa — A person of interest in a missing child case out of Wisconsin has been arrested in West Branch.
West Branch police arrested Kristen Rose Smith of Denver, Colo., on a warrant out of Texas. She was arrested at the Kum and Go along Interstate 80 in West Branch at about 5:30 a.m.
Steven Kopp, police chief for the Town of Beloit, in Wisconsin, told WISC-TV that Smith was arrested on a warrant unrelated to the missing child case, but that police wanted to talk with her about the missing baby. Kopp also said Smith is the half-sister of the baby's mother, and the baby was not with her.
Smith is being held at the Cedar County jail with charges related to a Texas felony warrant, according to a release from the Cedar County Sheriff's Office. A related criminal complaint filed by the West Branch Police department said Smith is accused of tampering with government records and fraud in Texas.
A release from the Town of Beloit police department in Wisconsin said the 5-day-old boy was reported missing around 4:30 a.m. Thursday from a home at 836 East Homeland Court in the Town of Beloit. The initial investigation indicated the baby's mother, Brianna Marshall, woke up and found the baby, Kayden J. Powell, missing.
Officers and agents are trying to locate and interview friends and family in relation to the child's the disappearance and the home is being processed for evidence.
The missing child is black, 20 inches long, 6 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes. The Rock County Sheriff's Office, Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation and the FBI are assisting in the case.
Anyone with information is directed to contact the Town of Beloit Police Department at (608) 757-2244.