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Iowa parents charged with murder after their infant is found rotting in a baby swing

Zachary Koehn and Cheyanne Harris were charged Wednesday with murder in connection with the August death of their son, Sterling.
Zachary Koehn and Cheyanne Harris were charged Wednesday with murder in connection with the August death of their son, Sterling.

In August, authorities in Alta Vista, Iowa, found 4-month-old Sterling Koehn in a baby swing in his home, his little body rotting and infested with maggots.

His parents — Cheyanne Harris, 20, and Zachary Koehn, 28 — were arrested and charged with first-degree murder and felony child endangerment on Wednesday.

A medical examiner found maggots in Sterling’s clothing and skin that suggested he hadn’t had a diaper change, a bath or been moved from the swing in more than a week.

Court records indicate the child weighed less than 7 pounds, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports.

“The facts of this case go far beyond neglect and show circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to human life,” a Chickasaw County sheriff’s deputy wrote in court records seeking charges against the parents, the newspaper reported.

Deputies and medics found the baby dead on the afternoon of Aug. 30 in the couple’s apartment after Koehn called authorities.

He reportedly told police that Harris had fed the baby around 9 a.m. and everything was OK until he checked on him again about two hours later and found the baby was dead.

Their statements didn’t square with evidence suggesting the baby hadn’t been moved from the swing in more than a week.

The Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death a homicide, naming failure to provide critical care as the cause of death, the Courier reported.

The parents face mandatory life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 2. Bond was set at $100,000 cash only.

The Volusia County Sheriff's Office in Florida released a body cam video from one of their deputies that shows a couple unconscious in a car with an 8-month-baby in the backseat. Both adults were arrested. The female passenger was charged with chi

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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