A woman accused of kidnapping her newborn nephew and leaving him outside an Iowa gas station in frigid temperatures has made her first court appearance in Madison.
A federal grand jury indicted 31-year-old Kristen Smith of Aurora, Colo., on a kidnapping charge earlier this week. She made her initial appearance in federal court in Madison on Friday. U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker ordered her detained while her family tries to hire an attorney.
"Could the court reconsider her detention, order release on conditions, that's always possible," said U.S. Attorney John Vauderuil. "The court can reconsider the conditions of release but otherwise she stays with us with our court in custody until this case is resolved one way or the other."
Prosecutors allege Smith took the baby from a Town of Beloit home where her half-sister, who is the child's mother, was staying on Feb. 6.
Police caught up with Smith in West Branch, Iowa, but she didn't have the baby. Police later discovered the child alive in a crate behind a West Branch gas station. The boy was alive and well despite spending hours alone in temperatures that dipped well below zero.
If convicted, Smith faces life in federal prison. . Prosecutors say she could also face charges in Rock County of reckless endangerment or abduction.
"I have spoken to District Attorney David O'Leary and he’s certainly waiting to see how this plays out and how it affects because there is no rush," said Vauderuil.