Zachary Koehn stands trial for the first-degree murder of his four-month-old son Sterling Daniel Koehn. The Iowa man and the child’s mother Cheyanne Harris actions “go far beyond neglect,” according to a Chickasaw County complaint obtained by Law&Crime.
The defendant called 911 on August 30, 2017, and asked for an ambulance, deputies say. Authorities say Koehn claimed that his girlfriend, Harris, previously fed their four-month-old son, and he was okay, but then she found the boy dead at some point between 11:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
Investigators discovered a horrifying sight in the victim’s room: Sterling was in his swing-seat dead. Medical examiners determined that he was severely underweight and small for a child his age. He weighed just under seven pounds, and was 14 inches tall, according to the complaint. It was noted that this put him “well below the 5th percentile in size and weight.”
Officials say that Koehn and Harris claimed that Sterling had been checked on August 29, 2017, but the evidence, as described in the complaint, flat-out contradicts that. Maggots were found on Sterling’s body, authorities said. The bugs’ growth and development allegedly showed that the child had not had a diaper change, been bathed, or been taken from the seat in “over a week.”
“The cause of death was failure to provide critical care,” stated the complaint. “The facts of this case go far beyond neglect and show circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to human life.”
The trial is being held in Henry County, Iowa, after Koehn’s defense argued that their client wouldn’t get a fair trial in Chickasaw County.
The defendant is also charged with child endangerment. If convicted, he could spend life in prison. Harris’ trial has yet to be scheduled.
[Mugshot via Chickasaw County]