Parents Charged with Murder After Son Found "Rotting" in Home

A couple from Iowa were arrested on Wednesday (Oct 25) and charged with the murder of their baby son after his body was found rotting in a baby swing in their home.

Zachary Koehn, 28, called 911 on August 30 requesting an ambulance, telling the dispatcher that his girlfriend, 20-year-old Cheyanne Harris fed the 4-month old, Sterling, at 9 a.m.

An ambulance was called to the couple's Alta Vista apartment on August 30 after Koehn told authorities his son Sterling Koehn had died, just a few hours after he said Harris fed the child, according to a criminal complaint filed on Tuesday.

The criminal complaint says an autopsy by the State Medical Examiner's Office found the infant measured well below the 5th percentile in size and weight for the child's age.

However, a forensic examination of the maggots on his body revealed that Sterling had not had a diaper change in more than week.

The couple's older child is safe, Palo confirmed in a brief phone interview Thursday.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for November 2.

When she went to check on him between 11 and 11.30am, the baby was dead, he said. Bond was set at $100,000 cash only.

Harris and Koehn are being held in the Chickasaw County Jail.

The newspaper also reports that court records state Koehn and Harris have a history of methamphetamine use, but no run-ins with local law enforcement or criminal convictions in the state of Iowa. Authorities also noted that Sterling was located in a bedroom away from where his parents and an older sibling slept. Both have been placed in substance abuse treatment, the reports show.

Alta Vista is about 125 miles northeast of Des Moines.

The charge was later dropped after Koehn agreed to pay restitution and fees.

Vanessa Coleman

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