An Iowa couple have been charged with murder in the death of their four-month-old son, whose rotting corpse was found in a baby swing in the family’s home.
Cheyanne Harris, 20, and 28-year-old Zachary Koehn were arrested on Wednesday on charges of child endangerment and first-degree murder in the death of their son, Sterling Daniel Koehn.
The pair are being held on $100,000 bend pending their preliminary hearing on November 2.
Parents arrested: Cheyanne Harris, 20 (left), and Zachary Koehn, 28 (right), have been charged with first-degree murder in the death of their 4-month-old son
Court records state the couple’s baby, Sterling Koehn, was found rotting in his baby swing on August 30. Harris is pictured during her pregnancy
The first-degree murder charge in Iowa carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
Authorities say in court records, first cited by Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier, that deputies and paramedics called to the couple’s apartment on Hilltop Avenue in Alta Vista at around 1pm on August 30 found Sterling’s decomposing body in his powered swing.
A medical examiner found maggots in his clothing and skin in various stages of development that indicated he hadn’t had a diaper change, bath or been removed from the seat in over a week.
When interviewed by deputies, Koehn said his girlfriend had fed the baby at 9am that day and everything seemed fine, and when she went to check on him between 11 and 11.30am, the baby was dead.
Koehn (left) said his girlfriend had fed the baby at 9am, but when she went to check on him three hours later, he was dead
But the autopsy report relying on the findings of a forensic entomologist challenged the father’s narrative.
The Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death a homicide and determined the cause of death to have been failure to provide critical care.
The deceased infant was found weighing less than 7lbs, placing him well below the 5th percentile in weight for a child his age.
Koehn’s previous run-in with the law occurred in September 2016, when he was charged with second-degree theft for allegedly bypassing a water meter to his trailer home after his service was shot off for non-payment.
The charge was later dropped after Koehn agreed to pay restitution and fees.
Social media posts indicate that Koehn and Harris also have a two-year-old daughter.
Sterling’s body was found covered in maggots and his body weighed just 7lbs