Attorney: Kristen Smith miscarried child, had permission to take - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Attorney: Kristen Smith miscarried child, had permission to take baby

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 MADISON (WKOW) -- As Kristen Smith's federal kidnapping trial begins, her attorney says Smith had permission to take her teenage half-sister's baby from Beloit in February, but says a subsequent police search for infant Kayden Powell caused Smith to "panic" in Iowa.

Authorities say the four day old child was found after being abandoned in freezing weather near a gas station in a gray, plastic tote in blankets, and survived.

During the trial's opening statements, attorney Matt Noll also said Smith was pregnant in 2013, miscarried, and came to Beloit to help her pregnant relative, 18-year old Brianna Marshall.

But prosecutors questioned witnesses and produced evidence indicating Smith faked a pregnancy to coincide with the coming of her half-sister's child. In her opening statement, assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Pfluger said Smith denied to investigators any knowledge of the baby's whereabouts, as the child sat unfound in the harsh, potentially deadly weather.

Smith's employer, Heather Warr testified she came to Colorado in November to hire Smith as as shipper of online goods. Warr says Smith did not appear pregnant, and only mentioned a pregnancy at the end of a day-long training. Warr testified she received email announcements from Smith in February of an impending inducement of the baby, and then of the baby's birth, named "Kaysin," with a photo authorities say was actually a photo of a child's birth from March 2013.

FBI agent Jennifer Jostes says a search of Smith's Aurora home after Kayden Powell's kidnapping turned up a crib, and also a sonogram emailed to Smith's mother-in-law's cell phone that was of a child from 2007.

FBI forensic examiner Kelly Kolechek testified Smith's computer history included web pages on breastfeeding an adopted baby, creating a fake pregnancy, and fake pregnancy bellies. Authorities say when Smith was stopped in Iowa in February, a prosthetic belly was in her car.

But Noll says Smith was "struggling" with her miscarriage, and preparations for the arrival of a baby in her Colorado home were consistent with her offers of help to Marshall.

Marshall testified she was estranged from Smith for several years, and contact only resumed when Smith learned Marshall was pregnant in 2013. Marshall says she became closer with Smith, but rebuffed Smith's offer to have Marshall and her baby come to Denver to live, without the baby's father, Bruce Powell.

Noll says Powell was the person who gave Smith permission to take the baby from Beloit to Colorado. He has yet to testify.

Smith's trial is expected to continue all week. If convicted, Smith faces a possible life sentence.

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