Sioux Falls woman has plea change hearing in infant's death


SIOUX FALLS (AP) – A Sioux Falls woman who has pleaded not guilty in the 1981 death of her newborn has a hearing to change her plea.

Theresa Bentaas, 59, is charged with first- and second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter in the death of her abandoned infant who became known as Baby Andrew.

Terms of the change of plea were not known. A hearing in Second Judicial Circuit Court is scheduled Oct. 8. An attorney for Bentaas did not immediately respond to phone and email messages to inquire about the change of plea.

A sentencing hearing for Bentaas has been scheduled for Dec. 2, the Argus Leader reported.

A motorist spotted the newborn, wrapped in a blanket, in a ditch in Sioux Falls on Feb. 28, 1981. An autopsy determined the infant died of exposure. After a few leads and attempts to contact the parents of the baby, the case went cold.

Decades later when the case was revived and with advancements in DNA matching, police identified Bentaas as the mother.

Bentaas was arrested and charged in the death of Baby Andrew in March 2019.

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