The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Breaking News

February 11, 2014

Woman accused of taking nephew has criminal past

Suspect also faces charges in Indiana

-- —

MADISON, Wis.  — A woman accused of kidnapping her 5-day-old nephew and leaving him outside an Iowa gas station as police closed in on her has a long criminal history with frequent moves and multiple names, but nothing in her past indicates why she might have taken a child.

The woman who was arrested in Iowa has been charged as 31-year-old Kristen R. Smith, of Denver. But court documents and warrants obtained by The Associated Press show the same woman faces other charges elsewhere as Kristen L. Pearson, who is 32.

Even Smith's family appears confused by her identity. She is accused of taking her nephew from a Town of Beloit home where she had been staying with her half-sister and the child. In a 911 call released Monday, Brianna Marshall, the baby's 18-year-old mother, told police after she discovered her son missing that she wasn't sure of her half-sister's last name. Police quickly tracked Smith to Iowa, and the baby was found the next day and returned to his mother.

Police have refused to speculate on a possible motive, though court documents say Smith had written emails saying she gave birth on Feb. 5. She also wrote Facebook posts about being pregnant and had a prosthetic pregnancy belly in her car when police arrested her.

She faces active warrants relating to fraud, false representation and document tampering in unrelated cases in at least three states. In Texas, she has been charged as Smith. But in Indiana and Wisconsin, she is charged under the name Pearson.

Smith appears to have changed her last name after marrying last year, a move that's not unusual for women. But the use of different middle initials and two different birthdates seems to have tripped up law enforcement and may have led to Smith being released from a Colorado jail while she was wanted for felony crimes in other states.

A spokeswoman for the district attorney's office in Tarrant County, Texas, said her office confirmed the two women were the same person using fingerprints and photographs.

The office had an outstanding warrant for Smith when she was arrested in October and booked into the Arapahoe County, Colo., jail. Despite that, she was released Nov. 3.

Melody McDonald, a spokeswoman for the Tarrant County district attorney, said she didn't know why.

"That's actually a very good question," she said.

Arapahoe County Sheriff's Capt. Jared Rowlison said he knew Pearson was wanted in Indiana and in Texas. He declined to comment on why Pearson was released or why police originally picked her up. Documents later provided by the sheriff's office also did not answer those questions.

Smith faces charges under the name Pearson in Kosciusko County, Ind., and Marathon County, Wis. The AP matched a 2011 booking photo from Marathon County to a mug shot from Arapahoe County and the mug shot taken in Iowa last week to confirm that Smith and Pearson were the same person.

She was previously convicted in Wisconsin as Pearson on four counts of issuing bad checks worth less than $2,500 and was sentenced to nine months in jail, online court records show.

Smith's attorney and husband have not responded to phone messages about the kidnapping case. Calls to other relatives, believed to be her in-laws, went unanswered before the phone numbers were disconnected this week. No one answered the door of the family's Denver home.

Federal prosecutors allege Smith took the baby from southern Wisconsin early last Thursday, five days after he was born. After the baby's mother discovered him missing and called police, an officer reached Smith on her cellphone while she was passing through Iowa and told her to stop for questioning.

Smith was taken into custody on the Texas warrant charging her with tampering with government records. She was charged with kidnapping the next day, hours after a police chief found the missing infant, alive and well, despite being left in freezing weather for up to 29 hours.

Wisconsin officials have referred all questions about the case to the FBI. FBI spokesman Leonard Peace said he couldn't comment on the active investigation.


Text Only
Breaking News
  • Indianapolis police officer kills ex-wife, self

    Authorities say an Indianapolis police officer shot and killed his estranged wife, also an officer, and then turned the gun on himself.

    April 18, 2014

  • news_homesickforprison.jpg Man said to be homesick for prison gets 3½ years

    An ex-con who spent most of his adult life behind bars on Thursday got what he said he wanted for robbing a suburban Chicago bank. The 74-year-old gets to go back to the place he called home — prison.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gay Marriage Utah [Duplicate] Judge asks pointed questions in gay marriage case

    A judge in Colorado who will play a pivotal role deciding whether gays should be allowed to wed in the United States asked pointed questions Thursday about whether Oklahoma can legally ban the unions.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_obamalocalschools.jpg Obama: 8 million signed up for health care

    Eight million people have signed up for health care through new insurance exchanges and the proportion of younger applicants has increased, President Barack Obama said Thursday.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0107 Super WAL-MART 1 Wal-Mart jumps into the money transfer biz, loudly

    The world's largest retailer introduced a new money transfer service Thursday that it says will cut fees for its low-income customers by up to 50 percent compared with similar services elsewhere.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_ukraineprotests.jpg Deal reached on calming Ukraine tensions

    Top diplomats from the United States, European Union, Russia and Ukraine reached agreement after marathon talks Thursday on immediate steps to ease the crisis in Ukraine.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_target.jpg Cyber cops: Target hackers may take years to find

    Secret Service investigators say they are close to gaining a full understanding of the methods hackers used to breach Target's computer systems last December.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Evacuation came too late for many on sinking ferry

     An immediate evacuation order was not issued for the ferry that sank off South Korea's southern coast, likely with scores of people trapped inside, because officers on the bridge were trying to stabilize the vessel after it started to list amid confusion and chaos, a crew member said Thursday.

    April 17, 2014

  • 3 protesters killed in attack on Ukrainian base

    The turmoil in Ukraine dominated the European landscape Thursday, as three protesters were killed in a clash in southern Ukraine, high-level talks were held in Geneva and Vladimir Putin weighed in on his neighbor's future for hours from Moscow.

    April 17, 2014

  • news_marathonsecurity.jpg Boston Marathon organizers confident of safe race

    The arrest of a man with a rice cooker in his backpack near the Boston Marathon finish line led police to step up patrols Wednesday, while organizers sought to assure the city and runners of a safe race next week.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners Obama Greets Wounded Warriors Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Franco Leads Star-studded Broadway Cast Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Front page

How well do you monitor your child's use of social media?

I do a good job
I check occasionally
Not well at all
     View Results