Five-day-old newborn Kayden Powell was found last Friday morning outside of a BP gas station in Iowa. The Wisconsin baby scandal thickens, as the kidnapper was revealed to be Powell’s 31-year-old aunt Kirsten Smith. Based on evidence discovered in Smith’s car, it seems that she abducted the infant with the intention to call him her own. Infant abduction is neither rare nor common. Statistically most cases occur when a woman is trying to protect a romantic relationship. For example, a woman has told her boyfriend or lover that she is pregnant. In order to keep the relationship going, the woman must produce a baby within the time frame she has set. In Smith’s case, the presence of a lover is unclear. However her intention to take her nephew as her own is compelling.
The details of the kidnapping are shocking. At 4:30 am Thursday, the Wisconsin home of baby Powell awoke in shock at the scandal they were in. Powell was barely a week old when he was taken from his parents’ side. Powell is the first-born son to 18-year-old Brianna Marshall and 23-year-old Bruce Powell. They had a feeling that Smith had taken Powell, calling her while she was en route to Colorado. Eventually police officers located Smith at a Kum and Go gas station in Iowa. According to the official complaint, a search of Smith’s car revealed a strange collection of items. Police officers found an artificial pregnant belly, Powell’s baby clothes. In addition to these items, police searched Smith’s e-mails and discovered messages she sent announcing the birth of her child. In addition, Smith failed both a polygraph test and a pregnancy test. All the while Powell was still missing, and Smith declined to offer information as to the baby’s whereabouts. The biggest issue in finding the baby was the weather conditions in the area, as the Midwest is still experiencing extremely cold temperatures. The road between Wisconsin and Iowa is covered in snow. Without proper clothing or insulation, the weather could be fatal to a newborn like Powell. Luckily, Powell was discovered 500 yards from Smith’s car behind a BP gas station. Powell had been hidden inside a plastic tote box, swathed in blankets. He is reported to be in good health, at home with his parents.
This is not the first criminal offense on Smith’s record, but if she is found guilty she could serve a lifetime sentence. The combined evidence Smith’s email correspondence announcing her pregnancy along with her prosthetic pregnant belly imply that Powell’s kidnapping was premeditated. At present Smith denies the kidnapping charge, and has little options available for her defense. While she should be submitted to a mental health test, her behavior suggests that she was in complete control of the situation. She willingly and knowingly abducted her nephew while his parents slept. Psychologists and mental health experts suggest that women who abduct infants are in complete control, and rarely suffer a psychotic break. Another theory in understanding women involved in infant abduction states that the abductor has likely experienced severe loss, like miscarriage. There is no information available at present to establish a detailed profile of Smith and her intentions. However her instigation of the Wisconsin baby scandal is enough to keep her in holding. Powell has had a crazy ride before his first week of life, but at least he is finally safe at home with his parents.
Opinion by Victoria Chuidian