Mother’s Arrest Over Newborn’s Dying in Ditch 38 Years Ago Came From DNA Match

Steven Armentrout, CEO of Parabon NanoLabs, said researchers are using DNA from the open-source site to solve almost one case a week

A newborn baby was found dead in a ditch in South Dakota, but the case went cold. Then a detective picked up the case again 28 years after the crime, NBC News reports.

"This case felt solvable, it always felt like we were so close," retired Sioux Falls Detective Michael Webb told NBC News.

Ten years after he picked up the case, the baby's mother has been arrested and faces murder charges. The key was DNA and a searchable database that led to a match between the mother and the newborn.

DNA technology company Parabon NanoLabs found two possible genetic familial matches using GEDMatch.com, a free open-source website that allows people to upload their genetic information retrieved from genetic testing companies like 23andMe and Ancestry to find other relatives or for research.

Results from the open-source database together with old wedding and birth announcements allowed investigators to build "limited" family trees, eventually leading them to Theresa Bentaas — the baby's biological mother, who still after nearly four decades lived in Sioux Falls. 

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