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May 26, 2019

Heartless South Dakota mom charged with murder 38 years after allegedly leaving newborn to die in ditch

March 12, 2019
Theresa Bentaas was charged with first-degree manslaughter and first- and second-degree murder on Thursday when cops claimed she abandoned her newborn by a roadside 38 years ago. (Obtained by the New York Daily News)

A baby boy left to die in a wintry South Dakota ditch nearly four decades ago is finally receiving justice.

Theresa Bentaas was charged with first-degree manslaughter and first- and second-degree murder on Thursday after cops claimed she abandoned her newborn by a roadside 38 years ago.

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Motorists in Sioux Falls, S.D., noticing what appeared to be a blood-stained blanket, made the grisly find. Cops immediately began an investigation on Feb. 28, 1981.

Sioux Falls Police Chief Matt Davis said narrowing down potential culprits — women of childbearing age — was a detailed and time-consuming process requiring plenty of manpower and patience.

“We were able to continue to build that family tree through old birth announcements, old marriage announcements and things like that and we started putting the pieces together,” Davis said Thursday.

During the investigation, detectives narrowed the search down to Bentaas and then obtained a DNA sample from the 57-year-old woman. On Monday, she confirmed to being the baby’s mother, saying she had been a “young teenager” while giving birth, authorities said.

The baby, later named Andrew, was born full-term and had been breathing before falling victim to exposure. Thirty-eight years after dying, the boy was exhumed from a cemetery in order for DNA extraction to prove he had been birthed by Bentaas.

Webb said an interview with the baby’s father did not lead to an arrest as he was unaware of Bentaas’ pregnancy.

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