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.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
“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 Associated Press contributed to this report.