Family Crimes

Couple Charged With Murder After 4-Month-Old Boy Allegedly Left Decomposing In Swing

"The facts of this case go far beyond neglect and show circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to human life."

An Iowa couple were charged with homicide when investigators discovered their infant son was killed after being left in a swing for more than a week, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Zachary Paul Koehn, 28, called an ambulance to his home on August 30, claiming that the 4-month-old boy, Sterling Daniel Koehn, had died suddenly after eating earlier that morning.

But a medical examiner said that the circumstances surrounding the death amounted to homicide by a “failure to provide critical care.” 

The baby weighed less than 7 pounds at the time of death and was only 14 inches long, putting him below the 5th percentile in size and weight for his age, the medical examiner claimed. He was allegedly infested with maggots in his clothing and on his skin, and he had not had a diaper change or bath for more than a week.

According to the complaint affidavit, Sterling was left in a motorized swing in the couple’s house, where he would eventually die.

"The facts of this case go far beyond neglect and show circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to human life," said court documents from the case. Authorities also said that the couple’s account of the infant’s death is inconsistent with the autopsy’s conclusions.

Koehn and his girlfriend, Cheyanne Renae Harris, 20, were arrested and charged with child endangerment causing death and first-degree murder. They could face life in prison.

Both are being held on a $100,000 cash-only bond.

The couple reportedly has another child.

[Image: Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Office]

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