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Sioux Falls woman arrested for 1981 homicide cold case

SIOUX FALLS--A Sioux Falls woman was arrested Friday in connection with an abandoned baby found dead 38 years ago. Theresa Bentaas, 57, is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter. She was taken into cu...

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SIOUX FALLS-A Sioux Falls woman was arrested Friday in connection with an abandoned baby found dead 38 years ago.

Theresa Bentaas, 57, is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter. She was taken into custody outside her home without incident and is being held on a $250,000 bond, according to Sioux Falls police.

The full-term baby boy was found in a blanket and dead from exposure on Feb. 28, 1981, south of 26th Street and South Sycamore Avenue in Sioux Falls.

No suspects were identified until the South Dakota Forensic Lab used DNA analysis to confirm that Bentaas is the baby's biological mother.

Mike Webb, the detective who took over the cold case in 2009, worked with Virginia-based DNA technology company Parabon NanoLabs, which used a public genetic genealogy database to locate a possible match in February.

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Investigators traced the possible match to Bentaas and executed a search warrant on her southeast Sioux Falls home, where they got a DNA sample for confirmation testing.

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