Accused infant kidnapper pleads not guilty

Kristen Smith appears in federal court Wednesday on kidnapping charges
Accused infant kidnapper pleads not guilty

The woman accused of taking her half-sister’s newborn from a town of Beloit home pleaded not guilty Wednesday.

Kristen Smith was in federal court on kidnapping charges for allegedly taking 5-day-old Kayden Powell.

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.

A judge set her trial for June 23.