Iowa police chief talks about finding missing Beloit infant

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by Lane Kimble

WEST BRANCH, IA -- You could say Police Chief Mike Horihan felt the call of duty last Friday morning.

"I just couldn't sit at home, I had to go out and look," Horihan said.

Soon, the West Branch, Iowa Police Department joined the multi-state search for missing Beloit infant Kayden Powell.  The baby disappeared last Thursday morning.  West Branch Police arrested  the aunt, Kristen Smith soon after, but she didn't have the child.

"We knew the person we had was a person of interest in the case, but we didn't know where  to start," Horihan said.

The police chief was supposed to be off Friday morning, but wanted to help.   The FBI designated his team to the north side of the I-80 interchange. One of the chief's  first stops was a BP gas station, the busiest place he knew.  A pass around the building  revealed a plastic tote that stood out.

"When I went to the owner of the building and said, 'Hey, is this yours,'  he said 'No, it's not.  I don't know where it came from.'  Then I really had an uneasy feeling," Horihan recalls.
 

Chief Horihan says the tote was covered in frost. 

"I was kind of thinking it was a coffin," Horihan said.  Slowly, he worked up the courage to open it.

"I further opened it up and heard the baby cry and I'm thinking, 'Did I just hear what I thought I heard?  This is not what i expected.'  And then all of the sudden I heard the baby cry again," Horihan said.

Inside that tote sat baby Kayden, nestled in blankets, cold, crying, but alive.  The chief believes Kayden spent around 30 hours in the elements.

"The baby must've just had enough oxygen to survive," Horihan said.  "And it must have been just right to keep the temperatures out."

Emergency crews immediately checked Kayden out for injuries and took him to a hospital, where he was reunited with family.

"Thank god the circumstances ended favorably," Horihan said.

The Chief hasn't spoken directly with Kayden's family yet, but he'd like to someday down the road when they feel comfortable.

CBS affiliate KGAN-TV contributed to this report.

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