Parents of child who rotted to death in swing plead not guilty

Both are charged with murder and child endangerment causing death. (Chickasaw County Jail)

The parents of a child that was found dead in his swing in an Alta Vista home have pleaded not guilty to their charges.

Zachary Koehn and Cheyanne Harris each entered their written plea on Wednesday. They are each charged with murder and child endangerment causing death.

According to a criminal complaint, Sterling Koehn was found in a powered, infant swing with maggots on his clothing and skin. An autopsy determined that Sterling weighed under seven pounds and was only 14 inches long, well below the 5th percentile in both size and weight for his age. He had not been removed from the swing in over a week.

Investigators believe the parents' account of how the baby died was inconsistent with the findings of the autopsy.

Court records show Koehn told police Harris had checked on their child at 9:00 a.m. on August 30 and said he was fine. Zachary told dispatchers he checked on him again about two hours later, finding him dead.

Further study of the growth and development of the maggots found on his body show he had not had his diaper changed, given a bath or been removed from the swing in more than a week.

Anyone with additional information is asked to call the Chickasaw County Chief Deputy Reed Palo at 641-394-3121.

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