A forty-year-old cold case in the death of a newborn baby concludes with a prison sentence of less than one year for manslaughter.

On February 28, 1981, then 19-year-old Theresa Bentaas gave birth to "Baby Andrew."

While at first reported the baby died from exposure, Judge Brad Zell points to evidence that the child was either stillborn or lived for only a short time before being placed in a ditch on the east side of Sioux Falls.
In court, Judge Brad Zell said he knew the sentence he imposed on Bentaas would not satisfy the Bentaas family, the public, or the prosecution.
He says he has a duty to try to do justice.
Zell said it was inconclusive if the baby was still alive when Bentaas had just given birth and put the hours-old child wrapped in a blanket in a ditch near 33rd Street and Sycamore Avenue on February 28, 1981.
Bentaas, now 60, was 19 at the time.
Judge Brad Zell sentenced Theresa Bentaas to 10 years in prison, with nine years suspended and credit for 73 days served, in the death of “Baby Andrew” in 1981
A psychiatrist testified earlier Thursday that Bentaas suffered from “complete pregnancy denial syndrome” for both the birth of Andrew and the birth of her daughter Melissa five years later.

Zell ordered Bentaas to report to the Minnehaha County Jail for processing to the South Dakota Women’s Prison in Pierre on January 15, 2022.
The judge also said Bentaas was not in need of rehabilitation as she had already raised two healthy, law-abiding children to adulthood.