TIPTON, Iowa (AP) — A woman charged with kidnapping her half sister's newborn from Wisconsin wants to "express concern" for her sister, saying she hopes she is recovering from the family's hardship, her defense attorney said Friday.
Attorney Victoria Noel said her client, Kristen Smith, is concerned about her half sister, 18-year-old Brianna Marshall.
Federal prosecutors in Wisconsin have charged Smith with kidnapping Marshall's newborn, Kayden Powell, on Feb. 6, and leaving him behind an Iowa gas station. The boy was found about 29 hours later, alive and well despite freezing temperatures.
"She understands her sister has gone through an ordeal and is hoping she's doing all right, regardless of what may or may not have happened," Noel told reporters in a statement that was authorized by Smith.
Smith has been jailed in Iowa since her arrest last week on an outstanding Texas warrant charging her with tampering with government documents. She appeared Friday in the Cedar County Courthouse in Tipton, Iowa, for a hearing related to that charge, and waived the right to challenge her extradition to Texas.
Noel said the practical impact of that decision is unclear, but it gives Texas authorities the ability to transport her to face that charge. That isn't expected to happen, however, and Judge Stuart Werling ordered Smith to remain jailed in Tipton on $50,000 bond.
Federal prosecutors could take her into custody at any time in the kidnapping case, and are expected to do so sometime after she is formally indicted, which could happen as early as next week.
Noel is not representing Smith on the federal charge. But she is defending her on a charge of child endangerment filed Thursday in Iowa.
Noel said her client has pleaded not guilty to child endangerment, and that she is still investigating the allegations. She said she has not spoken specifically with her client about the baby.
"Obviously I think everyone can agree it's a good thing that Kayden is safe," she said.
Noel said Smith also wanted to ask for privacy for her own family, saying she is the mother of young children. Noel said she did not have any details about her children beyond that, or know where they are living currently.