You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Mother’s half-sister charged with taking baby in Wis.

The infant was found in single-digit temperatures in a storage crate at an Iowa gas station.

Ryan J. Foley/Associated Press

The infant was found in single-digit temperatures in a storage crate at an Iowa gas station.

TOWN OF BELOIT, Wis. — Federal prosecutors charged a Denver woman on Friday with kidnapping her half-sister’s newborn boy from a Wisconsin home hours after police discovered the infant in a storage crate outside an Iowa gas station, alive and well in single-digit weather.

Town of Beloit Police

An undated photo of Kayden Powell, who is nearly a week old.

Kristen Smith faces life in prison if she is convicted of kidnapping Kayden Powell, who is nearly a week old.

Continue reading below

The baby was reunited with his parents and was on his way home last evening.

Kayden Powell’s mother discovered him missing early Thursday morning from his bassinet. Police found him tucked in a storage crate outside an Iowa gas station in frigid temperatures more than 24 hours later.

The newborn’s parents reported him missing early Thursday morning from the home in the Town of Beloit in southern Wisconsin where the family was staying. According to an affidavit accompanying the kidnapping charge, Smith is the mother’s half-sister and had come to visit the family in Wisconsin. She left the home early Thursday morning. Several hours later the mother reported the baby missing.

Police arrested Smith at a West Branch, Iowa, gas station on Thursday morning on an outstanding warrant from an unrelated case in Texas. The baby was not in the car, although she had baby clothes, a fake pregnancy belly, and a stroller with her, according to the affidavit. Hundreds of officers in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa, meanwhile, began searching possible stops on her route.

West Branch Police Chief Mike Horihan was searching the area around a BP gas station off Interstate 80 — about 500 yards from the Kum & Go station where Smith was arrested — when he heard cries that led him to a closed storage crate alongside the building. The baby was inside the crate, swaddled in a blanket and healthy and responsive.

West Branch is about 180 miles southwest of the Town of Beloit.

‘‘I had tears in my eyes,’’ BP station manager Jay Patel said, recalling his reaction to the police chief telling him that the infant had been found. ‘‘It’s good news but it’s sad, too.’’

It was unclear how long the newborn was outside in the cold. The temperature was about minus-10 Thursday night in the town and only in the single digits when the child was found. The infant was taken to a hospital for evaluation, Horihan said.

Loading comments...
Want each day's news headlines delivered fresh to your
inbox every morning? Just connect with us
in one of the following ways:
or
Please enter a valid email
BostonGlobe.com will never post anything without asking.
Privacy Policy
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com