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  • user warning: Table './conserva_drupal/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p>LIFE: March 13, 2019</p>\n<p><img alt=\"\" src=\"http://conservativechronicle.com/sites/default/files/Jeffrey.gif\" /></p>\n<p>They could have just kept going, but they didn&rsquo;t.<br />\n It was another cold South Dakota day on Feb. 28, 1981, when Lee Litz went out with a friend to test-drive a Jeep.<br />\n They picked up another friend on the southeast side of Sioux Falls and drove out a ditch-lined road through barren cornfields.<br />\n Litz was 30 and married with four children. His wife, who was pregnant, was back at home confined to bed &mdash; a precaution taken to make sure she could bring their unborn child to term.</p>\n<p> AS LITZ and his friends approached Sycamore Avenue, he noticed a blanket lying in a roadside ditch.<br />\n &ldquo;I got curious,&rdquo; he told me in an interview this week. &ldquo;It looked out of place.&rdquo;<br />\n &ldquo;We were going to leave,&rdquo; he said. But he told his friend, who was driving, to stop.<br />\n &ldquo;I got out of the vehicle and went over and lifted the blanket up and there he was,&rdquo; Litz said. &ldquo;He was laying on his side with his back to me.&rdquo;<br />\n &ldquo;The guys that were there with me said I jumped about straight up in the air and I ran over to the vehicle and said we got to call the police,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s a dead baby in the ditch.&rdquo;<br />\n &ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t have cellphones back then,&rdquo; Litz said, &ldquo;so we ran over to my one friend&rsquo;s house, which was about a mile away, and called the police from there.&rdquo;<br />\n &ldquo;They came out and picked me up and took me out to the scene,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I was hoping that I had found a doll or something like that. I was just praying that it wasn&rsquo;t really a baby. But it turned out to be that wasn&rsquo;t the case. It was a baby.&rdquo;<br />\n A police affidavit later described the horrendous scene Litz had discovered.<br />\n &ldquo;The newborn had the placenta still attached, and laying next to the baby was a pair of women&rsquo;s panties, a shirt, and Kleenex type material all with blood on them,&rdquo; it said.<br />\n The local coroner&rsquo;s office determined the baby had been born alive and, according to the affidavit, &ldquo;the cause of death was most likely exposure and failure to assist the baby in maintaining an airway.&rdquo;<br />\n People in Sioux Falls reacted with horror and compassion. The little boy was named Andrew John Doe, given a public funeral and buried in a plot donated by St. Michael, the local Catholic cemetery.<br />\n The Sioux Falls Police investigated aggressively but found no solid leads. The case went cold.<br />\n But baby Andrew was not forgotten.<br />\n In 2009, Detective Mike Webb reopened the case, believing DNA evidence might solve it. Baby Andrew&rsquo;s body was exhumed and sent to a lab at North Texas University. The university developed a DNA profile of the boy, and his body was returned to St. Michael Cemetery.<br />\n The Sioux Falls Police then checked baby Andrew&rsquo;s DNA against the South Dakota DNA database. There were no matches.</p>\n<p> THEY PERIODICALLY repeated this check for eight more years. Nothing.<br />\n Then, last year, the Sioux Falls Police gave a sample of baby Andrew&rsquo;s DNA to Parabon NanoLabs, a company that helps police link DNA from crime scenes to genealogical information. Parabon, according to the affidavit, &ldquo;found two possible genetic familial matches.&rdquo;<br />\n Sioux Falls Police Detective Patrick Mertes then used &ldquo;public domain research websites&rdquo; to build a family tree that might lead to the person who left baby Andrew in the ditch.<br />\n The key suspect still lived in Sioux Falls.<br />\n Detective Mertes carried out what police call a &ldquo;trash pull&rdquo; &mdash; taking items from the garbage she had thrown away.<br />\n DNA recovered from items in this garbage belonged to a woman and a man who &ldquo;could not be excluded&rdquo; as being the biological mother and father of baby Andrew.<br />\n The police then took direct DNA samples from them. These proved they were Andrew&rsquo;s parents.<br />\n The woman&rsquo;s name is Theresa Bentaas. She was 19 years old in 1981.<br />\n On Feb. 27, 2019, 38 years after baby Andrew was born, Detective Webb went to her house to talk to her.<br />\n &ldquo;The defendant admitted being pregnant in 1980-1981 and hid the pregnancy from her family and friends,&rdquo; said the police affidavit. &ldquo;The defendant stated she had the child in the apartment alone, then drove the baby to the place where he was later discovered.&rdquo;<br />\n &ldquo;When asked what she was thinking when she drove away from that ditch she stated that she was sad, scared, and she ran from it and it was not smart,&rdquo; the affidavit said.<br />\n She did not marry the man who was Andrew&rsquo;s father until six years after she left the baby by the side of a road.<br />\n He told the police he &ldquo;did not believe the defendant was capable of doing such an act,&rdquo; and they determined he was unaware of the crime.<br />\n On Friday, Theresa Bentaas was charged with murder and manslaughter. No charges were brought against her husband.<br />\n That day, Lee Litz got a call from his daughter, Crystal Oestreich, who was born three months after Litz found Andrew in the ditch. She told him the suspect had been charged.<br />\n &ldquo;I cried,&rdquo; Litz said. &ldquo;I couldn&rsquo;t believe it. I was so happy.&rdquo;<br />\n What is the lesson here?<br />\n &ldquo;I guess my message would be if you have a baby and you don&rsquo;t want to keep him, take him to a fire station or a hospital or somewhere and drop him off,&rdquo; said Litz. Do &ldquo;not to have a baby and dump him in the ditch like garbage.&rdquo;</p>\n<p> AND AMERICA could learn this from Sioux Falls: Never stop fighting to defend innocent life.</p>\n', created = 1574194218, expire = 1574280618, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '2:027cb2843709d26ed1cd920449c81619' in /home/conserva/public_html/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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A dark night finally turns to day

LIFE: March 13, 2019

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