Man who found baby in 1981 reacts to arrest in cold case homicide

Published: Mar. 8, 2019 at 7:22 PM CST
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A mother was arrested Friday morning in connection to a 38-year-old cold case. The body of a baby boy was found on the outskirts of Sioux Falls back in 1981. Media began referring to the case as "Baby Andrew."

It has remained a mystery ever since until Friday when police arrested 57-year-old Theresa Bentaas, who they said is the boy's mother.

Lee Litz found baby Andrew on the outskirts of Sioux Falls on that day in February. He was happy to hear the news of an arrest on Friday.

"I'm feeling very happy that she was found, very sad that he's laying in the ground yet," Litz said. "But very elated with the news that I heard today."

Litz visits baby Andrew's grave at St. Michael Catholic Cemetery every so often, so Andrew knows he's not forgotten.

"He needed somebody, and she just left him like a piece of garbage," Litz said.

He still remembers February 28th, 1981 vividly. He was driving around with three friends when he noticed a blanket that looked out of place on the side of the road. So he decided to get out of the car and check it out.

"And I knew right away, he was dead," he said. "It's just like fresh in my mind yet, like it happened yesterday. I've never forgotten it."

Litz's daughter, Crystal Oestreich, said she hasn't either. She has felt a connection to baby Andrew through her dad. She said if Litz would have found him sooner, the baby might have been part of her life.

"But I don't understand how his mom could have done that. I was very young when I had my children, and I couldn't have dreamt of doing such a thing," she said.

Litz hasn't stopped thinking about what someone did to that little boy 38 years ago.

"I've always wanted her to come to justice. 38 years is a long time to get away with something, so I think she's had her time out. I hope she gets life," he said.

"He wouldn't be here if she hadn't made those choices, but I'm glad they found her," Oestreich said.

It doesn't change what happened in 1981 though.

"I think about what he'd be doing today if he was around and would have had a chance," he said. "I just wish I could have found him a little sooner. But it wasn't to be."