40-Year-Old Cold Case of South Dakota Baby Ends With Conviction

Ad Blocker Detected

Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors. Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker.

A South Dakota girl was convicted on Friday in the death of her newborn son, in accordance to courtroom files, ending a chilly case that began when the boy’s overall body was uncovered near a cornfield four decades ago.

The lady, Theresa Bentaas, 60, of Sioux Falls, entered an Alford plea, which allows defendants to enter a guilty plea devoid of admitting to the criminal offense, to very first-degree manslaughter in an settlement with prosecutors in which they dismissed two murder costs, according to the Second Judicial Court docket in South Dakota.

Ms. Bentaas had beforehand pleaded not responsible to the 3 rates.

Attorneys for Ms. Bentaas declined to remark on Monday. The Minnehaha County State’s Attorney office environment did not quickly answer to a ask for for remark on Monday.

The expenses towards Ms. Bentaas drew from the discovery of an infant’s system on Feb. 28, 1981, when a driver close to Sioux Falls noticed a pile of “wine-colored” blankets by the road, he stated decades later on in an job interview with a nearby newspaper, The Argus Chief. The driver pulled more than to look at the blankets due to the fact they seemed new, he explained.

Inside of the bundle was a useless toddler, and traces of blood were being identified on clothing nearby, in accordance to the arrest affidavit for Ms. Bentaas.

An autopsy found that the little one experienced been born alive, most possible the working day ahead of, and had in all probability died of publicity, according to the affidavit.

Investigators have been unable to locate the baby’s mother and relations. Immediately after about 50 residents attended the baby’s burial at St. Michael Catholic Cemetery, the situation went chilly. The newborn became recognized as Andrew John Doe.

In 2009, as DNA evaluation grew widely available and unfold into felony investigation, detectives picked up the Sioux Falls scenario and attained a courtroom buy to exhume the system for testing. The continues to be have been taken to the University of North Texas Overall health Science Middle, where by a DNA profile was received, according to the affidavit, which observed that the baby’s stays were reburied in 2010.

Via superior DNA screening, a household tree was produced, major investigators to a home in Sioux Falls wherever Ms. Bentaas experienced been living, the affidavit said.

Detectives identified DNA in the trash at her home, and analysts identified that it “could not be excluded” from a profile of the baby’s organic mother, in accordance to the affidavit.

In March 2019, the Sioux Falls Law enforcement Department declared that investigators had, through DNA screening and genealogy databases, last but not least tracked down the baby’s mom, naming Ms. Bentaas. She was arrested on murder prices.

On Feb. 27, 2019, Ms. Bentaas explained to investigators that in 1981 she was “young and stupid,” in accordance to the affidavit. She claimed she experienced hidden her being pregnant from loved ones and close friends, and provided start by yourself in her apartment. She then drove the child to the location by the highway the place he was afterwards identified, the affidavit reported.

The affidavit mentioned that Ms. Bentaas recalled feeling “sad” and “scared,” and that she ongoing to assume of that night when she drove by the place.

She is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 2, in accordance to courtroom documents.

Susan Beachy contributed investigate.