MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The parents of a baby boy who was taken from a Wisconsin home and later found in sub-zero temperatures testified Tuesday they trusted the relative now accused of abducting him so much that they initially didn't suspect her.
Kristen Smith of Aurora, Colorado, is charged with kidnapping 4-day-old Kayden Powell Feb. 6 and abandoning him in Iowa. The boy survived.
Smith allegedly took Kayden from her half-sister, Brianna Marshall, and her boyfriend, Bruce Powell, as they slept at Marshall's grandmother's house in the southern Wisconsin town of Beloit. Authorities allege she dumped the child as police closed in on her.
Smith claims she had permission from Kayden's father to take the boy to Colorado.
In their testimony, both Marshall and Powell said Tuesday that they had trusted Smith so much that initially they didn't think she could have been involved in Kayden's disappearance, the Wisconsin State Journal (http://bit.ly/WMixTo) reported.
City of Beloit officer Shannon Dykstra reached Smith by phone as she traveled through Iowa, and Smith told the officer she didn't know who took Kayden. At Dykstra's instruction, Smith made contact with a police officer in West Branch, Iowa. Smith had officer Alex Koch speak with Dykstra, who asked Koch to check Smith's vehicle for a child or children's clothing or belongings.
Koch testified that Smith told him she was pregnant, although she wasn't. Smith was arrested when Koch discovered there was an active warrant for her from Texas.
In a recorded phone call from the Cedar County Jail in Tipton, Iowa, Smith's husband asked why she had been stopped by police.
"Just because," was her response, not mentioning her missing nephew.
West Branch Police Chief Michael Horihan who was off duty when he joined the search for Kayden. In searching around a gas station off Interstate 80, he found a gray storage tub among some recycling bins.
Frost was on top of the storage tub, he testified. When he removed the lid, Horihan said he heard a baby cry.
EMT Sandra Heick testified that Kayden was only a little cold in his extremities, despite the morning temperature of 12 below.
"I was amazed that he was doing as well as he was," she testified.
Prosecutors plan to conclude their case Wednesday, and Smith's attorney will present her defense.
Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, http://www.madison.com/wsj