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Trial Starts In Wisconsin For Woman Accused Of Abandoning Baby In West Branch

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Federal court proceedings for a Colorado woman accused of kidnapping her newborn nephew in Wisconsin and abandoning him in freezing temperatures outside an Iowa gas station started Monday.

A jury of eight women and six men will hear the case against Kristen Smith.

Smith faces one count of kidnapping for taking days-old Kayden Powell in February. Authorities say she took the newborn from his parents in the Town of Beloit, in southern Wisconsin. Police arrested her in West Branch later that day, but the infant wasn’t with her.

The West Branch Police chief discovered Kayden the next morning hidden in a crate behind another gas station about 500 yards from the station where Smith was arrested.

In opening arguments, the prosecution described the subzero conditions in which Smith left the child for more than 30 hours. Defense attorneys said Powell’s father told Smith to take the infant to Colorado, and she only abandoned the child out of fear when contacted by police. Jurors also heard testimony from an FBI agent Monday, who said investigators found an application for a birth certificate inside Smith’s home in Colorado in the name of Kaysin Smith.

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