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Iowa father gets life for leaving son to rot in maggot infested diaper


NEW HAMPTON, Iowa (WQAD) — Twenty one men and women decided that 29-year-old Zachary Koehn will spend life in prison for the death of his infant son.

Tuesday, December 4, in Chickasaw County, the jury sentenced Koehn to life in prison.

Prosecutors say Zachary Koehn left the four-month-old baby in a bedroom for nearly two weeks last year. Baby Sterling was found dead in a swing seat. Doctors said he died of dehydration, malnutrition, and infection from extreme diaper rash.

According to court records, Koehn and the baby’s mother, Cheyanne Harris, 21, had pleaded not guilty to murder and related charges in the death of their son. They’re having separate trials.

During the week or more that baby Sterling was left in his swing, the couple continued to clothe and feed their 2-year-old daughter. The girl was in good health when law enforcement arrived at the family’s Alta Vista apartment.

Authorities say police were called to the couple’s Alta Vista apartment on Aug. 30 and found Sterling dead in the swing, weighing less than 7 pounds, in a diaper that hadn’t been changed in a week, and with maggots forming under his skin.

A forensic entomologist examined the maggots on the baby’s body and concluded he had been in his swing for nine to 14 days in the same diaper, according to the authorities.

When Chickasaw County sheriff’s deputies arrived at the home, they found the deceased boy in a bedroom separate from where the parents and their older child slept. Photos show the baby with his eyes open, blood coming from his mouth, and his fists clenched, in the swing.

Harris is also charged with first-degree murder and child endangerment causing death. She is set for trial on January, 29, in Le Mars.

According to The Des Moines Register, she has pleaded not guilty and may argue intoxication as a defense.

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