There are a lot of news stories that are harder and harder to believe as real. As parents it can be scary to turn on the news or scroll through our Facebook feed and see story after story of some natural disaster, a shooting that leaves countless people scared, hurt, and angry. There are stories of kids who are sick, parents who struggle to do right for their children.
And then there are stories like this. Ones where you try to understand how it could have happened, what type of person is behind it, and worry about how the world is going to look for the children you’re raising. It’s scary and this news story is straight up disturbing and each detail is harder to read than the last.
A little 4-month-old boy has been taken from the world before he was able to grow up and have a happy life. And according to reports, his parents are to blame not only for his death, but the tragic details that follows and it’s legit heartbreaking.
21-year-old Cheyanne Harris and Zachary Koehn, 28, were arrested on charges of child endangerment and first-degree murder in the death of their son, 4-month-old Sterling Daniel Koehn.
According to PEOPLE, Harris and Koehn were taken into custody October 25, 2017 facing charges in the death of their 4-month-old son, Sterling.
According to the court records obtained by PEOPLE, police and medical personnel were called to the couple’s apartment in Alta Vista, Iowa, on August 30 after Koehn called 911, requesting an ambulance for his unresponsive son.
According to Heavy.com, documents show that when the service people arrived to the apartment, Sterling was confirmed dead.
“The infant was found seated in a powered swing/seat in a bedroom separate from where Zachary, Cheyanne and their older child slept.”
It continued, “Authorities arrived to find the lifeless boy in the swing, the complaint states. In subsequent statements made by Zachary Koehn and Cheyanne Harris they claimed Sterling had actually been checked on last the previous day (August 29, 2017).”
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As if the details weren’t tragic and sad enough, they get more gruesome from here. Court documents, according to Heavy.com, state the body of Sterling underwent an autopsy the next day and the 4-month-old weighed under seven pounds at the time of his death and his body was only 14 inches in length.
According to Baby Center, the average weight of a 3-month-old boy is 13-15 pounds and 23.6-24.7 inches, so Sterling was very small, but that’s not the only upsetting thing the medical autopsy found.
“Sterling’s body was found to have maggots in various stages of development in his clothing and on his skin. Identification and study of the maggots found on the body was conducted by a Forensic Entomologist and used to provide a time line,” the documents read, according to Heavy.com.
The documents continue to say that the parents’ “account of the death of the child was inconsistent with the findings of the autopsy and investigation.”
The boy’s death was ruled a “Homicide” and the cause was determined to be due to a “failure to provide critical care. The facts of this case go far beyond neglect and show circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to human life.”
Neither Harris nor Koehn has entered a plea to the charges, and efforts to reach their attorneys for comment were unsuccessful Thursday. They are being held without bail.
Both are due back in court on Nov. 2.
This case is beyond upsetting and it’s hard not to think about what that poor boy has been through, or the couple’s older child who was said to be home with them the whole time, too.
“The study of the maggots growth and development indicated that the child had not had a diaper change, bath, or been removed from the seat in over a week.”