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Man Gets Life For Leaving Maggot-Infested Baby To Die In Feces-Filled Diaper

"He let Sterling rot in that room. He left him there to die," prosecutors said of Zachary Koehn.

By Gina Tron

A judge has handed down a life sentence for the father of a baby found dead wearing a maggot-filled diaper in his Iowa home last year. 

Zachary Koehn, 29, who was convicted last month of first-degree murder and child endangerment causing the death of his son Sterling, was sentenced to spend the rest of his life behind bars on Tuesday.

Before his conviction, prosecutor Denise Timmins provided graphic descriptions of how the baby, not yet 4 months old, died. The infant’s diaper had not been changed for between nine and 14 days, and E. coli bacteria in the feces made its way into his bloodstream. That, along with dehydration and malnutrition, caused his death. As he was dying, left alone in a hot room in a baby swing, insects lay eggs on his body that turned into maggots, according to the Des Moines Register reported.

"He let Sterling rot in that room," Timmins told jurors, according to the Des Moines Register. "He left him there to die."

Shockingly he died weighing only slightly more than when he was born. Initially, Koehn claimed his son died from sudden infant death syndrome. There was blood coming out of his mouth and his fists were clenched when police arrived on the scene.

Sterling’s mother also faces charges in his death. Cheyanne Harris, 21, pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death (the same charges as the victim’s father), late last month and is currently on trial. 


Timmins told the jury during Koehn’s trial that the couple used methamphetamine and that Koehn was the supplier for the two.

[Photo Credit: Associated Press]