Alta Vista, IA – The parents of a baby who died sitting in his swing, covered in maggots, have been charged with murder in Iowa.
Police charged Cheyanne Renae Harris, age 20, and Zachary Paul Koehn, age 28, with first-degree murder and child endangerment on Wednesday, according to the Des Moines Register.
Four-month-old Sterling Daniel Koehn was found dead by police and rescue personnel responding to a 911 call requesting an ambulance at the parents’ Northern Iowa residence on August 30, according to the criminal complaints filed against the parents.
Chickasaw County sheriff’s deputies and medics arrived to find the deceased baby sitting in a powered swing, in a bedroom separate from where Koehn, Harris and their older child slept.
Prosecutors said, in a criminal complaint, that the couple’s account of the baby’s death was inconsistent with the results of an autopsy.
An autopsy of the baby’s body revealed “maggots in various stages of development in his clothing and on his skin,” court records showed.
At the scene, Koehn told authorities Harris had fed the baby just a few hours before he died, KTLA reported.
But the medical examiner found maggots in the baby’s clothing and skin that indicated he hadn’t had a diaper change, or bath, or been removed from the seat of the swing, in over a week.
Both parents later told police they had checked on the baby the day before he died, according to KIMT.
The medical examiner ruled the death as a homicide, and said the cause of death was failure to provide critical care for the baby.
“The facts of this case go far beyond neglect and show circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to human life,” Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Deputy Reed Palo wrote in the criminal complaints.
Harris and Koehn are being held in the Chickasaw County Jail on $100,000 cash bond. They are scheduled to be arraigned on November 2.