FBI: Wisconsin kidnapping part of fake pregnancy plot

Kristin Smith (Cedar County Sheriff's Office)

February 7, 2014 2:33:47 PM PST
As if the heartbreaking disappearance of a five-day-old baby boy wasn't enough, federal authorities have charged the infant's aunt as kidnapper and say that she was faking her own pregnancy in an elaborate plot to obtain the child.

A prosthetic belly bump was found in Kristin Smith's car when she was arrested along I-80 in Iowa, according to the FBI. They also found some of five-day-old Kayden Powell's clothing in her car, but no sign of the child yesterday afternoon.

The newborn was found alive on Friday "swaddled in blankets" in a tote bag at a gas station not far from where police intercepted Ms. Smith.

With Friday afternoon's charges, federal authorities say there is evidence Smith had plotted a fake pregnancy in an effort to convince friends in Colorado where she lives that the stolen baby was hers. Investigators said, "Smith's Facebook account contained postings by Smith where Smith claimed she was pregnant."

Agents also say they have found "emails sent by Smith wherein she stated she herself gave birth on February 5, 2014."

After she was arrested Thursday afternoon in Iowa-- on an unrelated, outstanding warrant from Texas-- authorities say she was questioned about the whereabouts of the infant, her nephew. She failed a lie detector test according to newly-filed federal court records attached to the kidnapping charge.

Smith, the mother's half-sister, had been at the Beloit, Wis. house but left about 1:30 a.m. Thursday-- the last time people at the residence saw the baby.

Police said Smith was visiting the home Wednesday evening but left early Thursday for Colorado, where she lives.