Judge adjusts bond conditions for woman accused of killing her baby

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A Sioux Falls woman accused in the death of a baby who was found abandoned in a ditch in February of 1981 could be released from jail before her trial.

(Minnehaha County Jail via KELO via AP)

Theresa Rose Bentaas, 57, has been in custody since her arrest on March 8, when police identified her as the mother in the Baby Andrew cold case.

Bentaas appeared in court on Tuesday where a Minnehaha County judge adjusted her bond conditions from a $250,000 cash-only bond to $250,000 cash or surety. This gives Bentaas a better chance of posting bond and being released before her trial.

If released, she will need to wear a GPS ankle monitor, hand over her passport and check in weekly with her lawyer, among other conditions.

The judge reasoned that Bentaas is not a threat to the community. She also noted that this is an unusual case because the crime was committed 38 years ago when Bentaas was 19.

Bentaas is facing first- and second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter charges.

She allegedly hid her pregnancy from friends and family from 1980-1981. She gave birth to the baby in her apartment alone, and is accused of abandoning him in a ditch where he succumbed to the elements. The following day a man driving by discovered the baby wrapped in a blanket.

The case went unsolved for decades until authorities used DNA technology and genealogy websites to develop a family tree that linked the baby to Bentaas. They then obtained a DNA sample from her through a search warrant that helped confirm she was the mother.

Bentaas is scheduled to go on trial in June.

Categories: Crime, South Dakota News