Parents charged with murder after baby is found infested with maggots

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Cheyanne Harris and Zachary Paul Koehn

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CHICKASAW COUNTY, Iowa – An Iowa couple has been charged with murder after their 4-month-old son was found dead, weighing less than 7 pounds and in a diaper that hadn’t been changed in a week.

Cheyanne Harris, 20, and Zachary Koehn, 28, face charges of first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death, according to WHO-TV.

An ambulance was called to the couple’s Alta Vista apartment on Aug. 30 after Koehn called to report his son Sterling Koehn had died, just a few hours after he said Harris fed the child.

The baby was found in a powered swing seat in a different bedroom from where the couple and their other child slept.

The criminal complaint says an autopsy by the State Medical Examiner’s Office found the infant measured well below the fifth percentile in size and weight for the child’s age. Maggots were also found in various stages of development on the child’s skin and in his clothing. A forensic entomologist was able to determine the child “had not had a diaper change, bath, or been removed from the seat in over a week.”

The death has been classified as a homicide with the cause of death ruled as failure to provide critical care.

The criminal complaint concludes with, “The facts of this case go far beyond neglect and show circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to human life.”

Harris and Koehn are being held in the Chickasaw County Jail. They are scheduled to be arraigned on Nov. 2.

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