Shane Alex LassCourtesy photo Cedar Rapids Gazette
6-day-old Shane Lass’s death came just shy of four years after that of his 10-day-old sister, Tamara Lynn Lass.

Nineteen years ago today, new mother Teri Lass, 29, claimed her 6-day-old son, Shane Alex Lass, was kidnapped from her unlocked car outside the Norwalk, Iowa, post office while she went inside to buy stamps. The baby’s body was found the following afternoon in a garbage bag inside a cardboard box dumped in a rural ditch just south of Norwalk.

The newborn had been killed by blows to the head.

An October 1991 edition of True Story magazine located near the baby’s body bore a subscription label with the name “Teri L. Lass” — the infant’s mother.

Patrolman Doug Metzger would later testify that Lass exuded no sense of grief or panic when she told police someone had stolen her infant. She appeared calm, looked straight ahead or down, and never made eye contact, Metzger said.

Less than four years earlier on March 1, 1988, Teri and Mark Lass’s 10-day-old infant daughter, Tamara Lynn Lass, died of what officials initially thought was Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), but what State Medical Examiner Thomas Bennett ruled as an “undetermined” cause of death.

On February 25, 1992, Teri Lass was charged with first-degree murder in the death of 6-day-old Shane.

Warren County

Warren County in Iowa

Her trial had to be moved — twice — to different counties just to find “impartial” jurors unfamiliar with Lass’s history. They were in for a long series of stories rivaling any bestselling New York Times thriller writer; Shane’s disappearance and murder was neither the second nor third, nor even the fourth or fifth time Teri Lass had told incredulous tales of having fallen victim to nightmarish crimes most could never imagine enduring.

Any good story, however, also requires a good editor, and Lass had the very best: famed Des Moines defense attorney Alfredo Parrish, known for his ability to secure acquittals for those charged in the state’s most heinous crimes.

Baby feetSix-day-old Shane Lass’s murder remains open in name only, as Teri Lass cannot be tried again for his homicide. Charges may still be filed, however, in the suspicious and undetermined death of her 10-day-old daughter, Tamara Lynn.

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