Newborn Survives Freezing Temps in Plastic Bin

By Forrest Saunders, Reporter

WEST BRANCH, Iowa - Friday morning, police found a missing newborn from Wisconsin safe in West Branch.

Six-day-old Kayden Powell was found at a BP gas station around 10:00, Friday morning. That's just 500 yards away from the Kum and Go gas station where the child's aunt was arrested a day earlier.

Federal prosecutors have charged Powell's aunt, 31-year-old Kristen Smith of Denver, Colorado, with kidnapping. At first, Smith denied the kidnapping, but admitted to it after the newborn was found. Smith faces up to life in federal prison if convicted.

"We were just in the area, today, checking the area and we located the baby about 10-o'clock," said West Branch Police Chief Mike Horihan.

Chief Horihan found the six-day-old behind the BP gas station, wrapped in blankets, inside a plastic bin. Authorities believe the newborn may have spent approximately 29 hours there. During that time, temps dropped to 11 below zero. Wind chill was 23 below.

Doctors said a child that young could die in minutes if exposed to that kind of weather.

"A newborn baby has a large body surface area, to weight, which means they have more surface exposed to the cold, where they can lose the heat," said Dr. James Matsuda, a pediatrician at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids.

Dr. Matsuda said cold likely wasn't the only concern. He said normally newborns eat every three to four hours, yet baby Powell may not have eaten for more than a day.

"You run the risk of a baby becoming hypoglycemic, the blood sugars dropping too low, and problems associated with that," said Dr. Matsuda.

Miraculously, Powell overcame the odds stacked against him. Authorities said he's doing very well. After a check-up at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, the six-day-old is now home in the Town of Beloit, Wisconsin, with his parents.
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