Child Abuse

A 4-Month-Old Boy Is Dead After His Parents Left Him in a Swing for More Than a Week, Police Say

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An Iowa couple has been charged with murder, after police say they failed to provide critical care to their 4-month-old baby, resulting in his death. Authorities in Alta Vista say Cheyanne Harris, 21, and Zachary Koehn, 28, called an ambulance to their home for their unresponsive son on August 30. When paramedics arrived, they found the baby in his swing, in a state of decomposition. They believe the parents left their dead baby in his swing for a week before calling for help. The couple was taken into custody earlier this week.

Harris and Koehn were charged with first degree murder in the death of 4-month old Sterling.

The details of this heartbreaking story are absolutely horrifying. Police say the infant weighed less than 7 pounds at the time of his death. When he was found, he had not been bathed or changed in over a week. The cause of death was ruled a homicide. The medical examiner said his death was caused by a failure to provide critical care.

parents left their dead baby in his swing

Image: Facebook/Justice for Baby Sterling Daniel Koehn

In one of the most horrifying aspects of this case, medical examiners founds maggots in the baby’s clothes and on his skin. The parents left their dead baby in his swing to decompose.

Koehn told the 911 dispatcher that his girlfriend had fed the baby hours before they found him unresponsive. He initially told authorities that the baby died after he called 911. But when questioned again, both Koehn and Harris said no one had checked on Sterling since the previous day. Authorities say their stories don’t match up with the autopsy findings.

Between August 30 and the day he was taken into custody, Koehn continued to post on Facebook. On October 3rd, he posted a smiling photo of himself with Harris, with the caption “Loving the clean life”. The last mention of his son was on September 13.

The couple is being held on $100,000 cash-only bond. They haven’t entered pleas to the charges, and it’s unclear if they have attorneys as of now. They are due back in court for arraignment on November 2. Koehn and Harris also have another child, a daughter. Authorities say she is safe, but didn’t offer details on her whereabouts. Some people just really, REALLY shouldn’t be allowed to have kids.

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(Image: Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Office)