The parents of 4-month-old Sterling Daniel Koehn were charged in the child’s death.
Sterling was found dead in a baby swing on Aug. 30, 2017, at his parents’ apartment.
The Courier reports, prosecutors told an Iowa jury the boy:
“Died of diaper rash. That’s right, diaper rash.”
According to the autopsy, evidence showed that neither his mother Cheyanne Harris, 21, or father, Zachary Koehn, 29, had bathed the boy or moved him from the swing in more than a week.
In opening statements, McAllister told jurors Sterling’s maggot-infested diaper led to skin ruptures that resulted in an E. coli bacterial infection.
The child was left alone in a hot room and his diaper attracted flies, which laid eggs. As reported by UPI, McAllister said:
“The feces that sat in that diaper ate through his skin, allowing E. coli bacteria that was in his diaper and in his stool to enter his bloodstream and cause an infection.”
“This was not an accident. That was a cover story concocted by this defendant to cover the awful truth.
This is not a case, the evidence will show, where you hear about a young, inexperienced parent or somebody who did not know how to care for children.”
When the medical examiner removed the child’s clothing, deputy Reed Palo, who attended Sterling’s autopsy said:
“As the diaper came off, you could see the skin had broken down. It just looked like it had been there a long time.”
Both parents plead not guilty. Zachary’s attorney, Les Blair, said the child’s death was “a tragedy, not a crime.”
Blair admonished jurors to:
“Make sure that you keep an open mind, that you listen to all the evidence and that you don’t draw any conclusions or reach any conclusions until after you’ve heard everything.”
On the day of the incident, Zachary called the police and told 911 the infant had died of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), as previously reported by Dearly.
WHO reports, Sterling’s parents were both charged with murder and child endangerment.
Cheyanne, the boy’s mother, faces a separate trial at a later date.