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Sioux Falls police still trying to solve 1981 baby death

SIOUX FALLS (AP) -- Sioux Falls police are making another attempt to solve the death of a baby 35 years ago. The infant known as Baby Andrew John Doe was found frozen at the bottom of an icy ditch on Feb. 28, 1981. The coroner at the time said th...

SIOUX FALLS (AP) - Sioux Falls police are making another attempt to solve the death of a baby 35 years ago.

The infant known as Baby Andrew John Doe was found frozen at the bottom of an icy ditch on Feb. 28, 1981. The coroner at the time said the baby died of cold and blood loss, likely within two hours of his birth.

Police exhumed the baby's skeletal remains last year and sent them to a forensics laboratory in Fort Worth, Texas, after learning about a method for extracting DNA from bones, the Argus Leader newspaper reported. Investigators think the technology gives them a chance to identify the baby's mother and father.

"Finding out who the parents are is a fundamental piece in getting this case resolved," Police Chief Matt Burns said.

Police in 1981 asked the public and local doctors for help identifying the mother, but no leads surfaced. A woman did offer to arrange a funeral. She refused to give her name but did name the baby as Andrew.

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The case remains one of Sioux Falls' few unsolved homicides. Police expect lab results later this year.

"If there is something new we can work with to develop a new lead, we will follow it until it runs into a dead-end or conclusion," said Lt. David McIntire with the Sioux Falls Police Department's Crimes Against Persons Unit.

Minnehaha County State's Attorney Aaron McGowan said he supports the police department's decision to test the remains, and that he would consider bringing charges in the case.

"If we are able to develop a suspect and had probable cause to believe that a crime occurred, my office would certainly review the matter to hold any offenders accountable," he said.

Lee Litz, the passer-by who called police in 1981 after spotting the baby's body, said the memory remains etched in his mind 35 years later.

"To see a child thrown away like that - how could someone do that?" he said. "Someone got away with murder."

Related Topics: CRIME
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