A couple in Iowa have been charged in the disgusting murder or their own four month old child.
How any parent could kill their offspring is beyond me but the details of this particular case are quite graphic so consider this a spoiler to anyone who's easily upset by graphic descriptions.
The Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Office say that they were called to a home in Alta Vista, Iowa at around 12 PM back in August about a four month old child who was unresponsive and they immediately dispatched by emergency medical responders and police to an apartment on Wilson Street to assist.
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However once law enforcement went inside of the home it was as if they had just walked into a horror movie, with the scene of human feces and sewage, filth, and decomposition filling the air.
Once authorities began searching the house they saw the four month old child, Sterling Daniel Koehn, in a baby swing, rotting and covered head to toe in maggots.
An investigation immediately occurred at the scene which was clearly a crime scene, and angry officers wanted answers as to how this could have happened.
28 year old Zachary Paul Koehn, and 20 year old Cheyanne Renae Harris, the biological parents of the now deceased child Sterling; were immediately taken in for questioning.
Court records show that Koehn told the police that Harris had fed the child at around 9:30 AM and everything was fine thereafter. He then claimed that when she went back in between 11 and 11:30 AM the infant child was dead when she found him.
While authorities had their doubts, they had to wait for an autopsy to be certain.
During the autopsy, the medical examiner found maggots in the boy’s clothing and skin, and the maggots’ development was studied by a forensic entomologist to determine a timeline.
“The study of the maggots growth and development indicated that the child had not had a diaper change, bath, or been removed from the seat in over a week,” the deputy wrote in court records.
The baby was literally sitting in the same spot, in a filthy diaper for at least a week, with maggots crawling in and out of his diaper as he actually died from unsanitary and unhealthy conditions, a complete neglect.
The autopsy found they the boy weighed less than seven pounds at the time of the examination.
The Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office ruled that the death was indeed a homicide with the cause of death being failure to provide critical care.
“The facts of this case go far beyond neglect and show circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to human life,” one Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Deputy wrote in official court records which intended to bring charges against the parents.
However after the autopsy neither of the two evil parents could be located by police, prompting a major manhunt.
After two long months of searching the parents were finally located on October 25th by authorities in separate jurisdictions who had received tips as to their whereabouts.
Sheriff's deputies in both Mitchell and Fayette counties, as well as the Charles City Police Department all participated in the arrests, however they exact locations where they were arrested was not disclosed.
Both Zachary Paul Koehn and Cheyanne Renae Harris are now being detained in the Chickasaw County Jail on individual $100,000 cash bonds on the charges of first-degree murder and felony child endangerment for their own child's death.
In Iowa, a first-degree murder conviction will result in a mandatory life in prison sentence, which unfortunately will still not be justice for the poor child who never had an opportunity to enjoy life.
Chief Deputy Reed Palo asked anyone with further information regarding the suspects, the child, or anything that could help to prosecute the case to contact him at (641) 394-3121.
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