TOWN OF BELOIT, Wis. – A woman has been charged with kidnapping after a 6-day old baby boy who vanished from a bassinet inside a Wisconsin home has been found in in “excellent health” in a tote bag at a gas station along Interstate 80, authorities said.
U.S. Attorney John Vaudreuil filed the charge against Kristin Smith on Friday afternoon, hours after an Iowa police chief discovered the nearly week-old Kayden Powell alive and well in a plastic storage bin outside a West Branch, Iowa, gas station.
The baby was found some 180 miles from his home after a police officer heard the baby's cries, according to FBI acting special agent G.B. Jones. He said the child appears to be in good condition.
The baby's 18-year-old mother, Brianna Marshall, called 911 after waking about 4:30 a.m. Thursday to find that her son was missing from the room where she was sleeping at her home in the southern Wisconsin town of Beloit. The call touched off a multi-state search that included about 40 officers from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
Marshall, and the infant's 23-year-old father, Bruce Powell, were staying at the house when the baby vanished, Kopp said. Police said the infant's mother and father continue to be cooperative, and the case is not believed to be a custody dispute.
A woman who had been at the house but left around 1:30 a.m. Thursday -- the last time people at the residence saw the baby -- was questioned but is not a person of interest in the case, the police chief said.
Kopp told the Beloit Daily News that the woman was visiting the home Wednesday evening but left early Thursday for Colorado where she lives. Police were able to reach the woman on her cellphone, and she pulled off the highway in Iowa. Authorities took the woman into custody on an unrelated outstanding warrant from Texas.
Kopp said the baby could soon be back in his mother's arms.
“Kayden’s family has been notified and efforts are centered on reuniting Kayden with his family,” Kopp said.
The Town of Beloit, home to about 7,700 people, is about 50 miles south of Madison near the Illinois border.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.