Parents charged in death of infant found rotting in swing


ALTA VISTA, IA (CNN via KWWL/AP) – A four-month-old baby was found dead in a swing and covered in maggots inside his family’s home in Iowa.

The parents, Cheyenne Harris and Zachary Koehn, have been charged with child endangerment and first-degree murder in the death of their son, Sterling Koehn.

Zachary Koehn and Cheyanne Harris

KWWL spoke to a former babysitter for the family and says she is still shaken up by the tragedy.

“It didn’t add up, it doesn’t add up now,” said Jennifer Schriever, a former babysitter. “It makes me sick to my stomach.”

Four-month-old Sterling was found unresponsive inside the Alta Vista, IA apartment in August.

Authorities say the 911 call came from Zachary Koehn — who told dispatchers his girlfriend Harris had found their baby dead.

Authorities say, in court records, deputies and medics were called to the couple’s apartment on August 30 and found Sterling dead in the swing.

Schriever says she babysat Baby Sterling and his sister twice.

“They were always very clean, mom seemed together had a little notebook of details about the kids, of any meds given kind of thing, you know. She seemed very — they both seemed very together parents,” said Sterling.

She says the first time, they left both children with her for more than 16 hours.

“It just seemed a little bit strange that they would leave them that long,” said Schriever, former babysitter.

Authorities say the 911 call came from Zachary Koehn — who told dispatchers his girlfriend Harris had found their baby dead.

According to the criminal complaint, baby Sterling was found dead in his swing. From what she saw, Schriever says the baby didn’t even have a crib.

Schriever told KWWL she felt uneasy the second time she babysat.

“I took him and kind of did the arm gesture, seemed kind of light and she noticed that I did that, and that’s when she came and said we’ve been having problems with formula and getting him to gain weight, but we think we got it under control. And I never questioned it, but that baby seemed tiny to me,” said Schriever.

The state medical examiner’s office said the baby was malnourished and covered in maggots, which means he had not been bathed, had a diaper change or removed from the swing for more than a week.

Both parents are being held on a $100,000 cash bond. Their preliminary hearing is set for November 2.

According to the Associated Press, their court records did not list attorneys for either of them.

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