Found in a Field in 1981: Sioux Falls’ ‘Baby Andrew’ Saga Comes to a Close
In 2019 a long-unsolved Sioux Falls cold case was closed. On Thursday the final legal steps in the 40-year saga of 'Baby Andrew,' will come to a close with a sentencing hearing.
Baby Andrew Doe was a newborn baby boy found dead in a field near 26th and Sycamore in February 1981.
In 2019 Theresa (Josten) Bentaas, 57, from Sioux Falls, was arrested in connection with the homicide. On December 2, 2021, Bentaas was sentenced to 10 years in prison with nine years suspended.
Detective Mike Webb was credited with solving the crime. Webb reopened the case in 2009 with the hopes that advancements in DNA technology would produce a lead.
DNA retrieved from the baby's exhumed body helped investigators build a family tree for Baby Andrey, with the help of open-source DNA information taken from a family tree.
The investigation led police to then 57-year-old Theresa Rose Bentaas of Sioux Falls, who was arrested in March 2019. She was charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and first-degree manslaughter.
After initially pleading not guilty, Bentaas accepted a plea agreement in October 2021, pleading guilty to the manslaughter charge in exchange for dropping the two murder charges.
Bentaas, now 60, was sentenced for the crime on Thursday, December 2, 2021, by Judge Bradley Zell at the Minnehaha County Courthouse. Bentaas was sentenced to 10 years in prison with nine years suspended.
Dakota News Now reported that according to Judge Zell, including time served in county jail, Bentaas may only serve 60 days in prison.
What Happened To Baby Andrew?
In February of 1981, a man driving by an undeveloped area of land near what is now 26th street Sycamore Avenue in east Sioux Falls spotted a baby blanket and discovered an infant’s body.
In 2019 Dakota News Now reported that the placenta was still attached when the baby was found. A pair of women's underwear, a shirt, and tissues all with blood on them were also discovered
The baby was born alive but died of exposure and "failure to assist the baby in maintaining an airway," according to court documents reviewed by Dakota News Now.
The baby was interned at St. Michael's cemetery in Sioux Falls, while a group of mourners said prayers.
- Theresa Bentaas sentenced to 10 years in prison, 9 suspended in Baby Andrew cold case
- Bentaas pleads guilty in Sioux Falls’ “Baby Andrew” cold case from 1981
- Police arrest woman in connection to Sioux Falls infant found dead in 1981
- Theresa Bentaas to be sentenced for manslaughter Thursday in 'Baby Andrew' case
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