Change of plea coming in Baby Andrew murder case

Cold Cases

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — An update on a South Dakota cold case: a new court date is set for Theresa Bentaas. Bentaas is the Sioux Falls woman charged with killing an infant, who has been known for decades as Baby Andrew. Police arrested Bentaas in 2019. She was charged with murder and manslaughter in connection with baby Andrew’s death. She pleaded not guilty to the charges. On October 8th, she is scheduled to change her plea – more than four decades after the crime.

The investigation into Baby Andrew’s death began on February 28th, 1981 – when someone discovered his tiny body wrapped in a blanket on the edge of a farm field along Sycamore Avenue.

Police say the newborn died of exposure. At the time, people in the community came together to give him a funeral.

Investigators followed up on leads for years, but they didn’t find baby Andrew’s family until turning to DNA evidence.

It led them to Bentaas, a Sioux Falls woman who lived less than a mile from the spot where baby Andrew died.

In an interview with police, Bentaas said she was “young and stupid.” When she drove away from the ditch on that day in 1981, she told investigators she was “sad, scared, and ran away from it and was not smart.”

Now, she is scheduled to enter a new plea in connection with Baby Andrew’s death.

This is the second cold case to make headlines this month.

A couple of weeks ago Pennington County Authorities arrested Richard Schmitz in Hill City. He’s accused of murdering Meshell Will in 2013 and is scheduled to be back in court next week.

South Dakota has dozens of other disappearances and unsolved cases.

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