10/27/2014 05:03 pm ET Updated Dec 27, 2014

Kristen Smith Sentenced For Kidnapping Nephew


(Adds Smith's age; quote from prosecutor, paragraph 4)

Oct 27 (Reuters) - A woman who faked a pregnancy, kidnapped her infant nephew from his Wisconsin home, and left him alone in frigid temperatures last winter was sentenced on Monday to 25 years in federal prison, according to court records.

Kristen Smith, 31, of Aurora, Colorado, had been found guilty last July of kidnapping by a federal jury in Wisconsin.

She left the infant, Kayden Powell, who was less than a week old, wrapped in blankets in a tote bag 200 miles (320 km) away from his home in Beloit last February. He was found alive and well a day later behind a gas station in Iowa.

"Kristen Smith left a baby outside in bitterly cold temperatures and for over 24 hours denied any knowledge of his whereabouts," said John W. Vaudreuil, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, in a statement. "Her callous disregard for this child's life merits this long prison sentence."

Prosecutors in Wisconsin believed Smith faked being pregnant after they found a prosthetic pregnancy belly in her car and Facebook postings in which she claimed to be with child.

Smith had been arrested a day before the infant was found at the same gas station. Police had searched her car and found a car seat and a stroller, but no baby.

Smith also received 10 years of supervised release, according to a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Smith visited the infant's parents just before the baby disappeared, prosecutors said. (Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Sandra Maler)