Report: Parents Of Baby Found Rotting In Swing Had Drug History

ALTA VISTA, Iowa (CBS News) — An Iowa couple charged with murder after their baby boy was found dead in a swing seat have a history of methamphetamine use, according to records obtained by the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier.

Zachary Koehn, 28, called 911 on the morning of August 30 requesting an ambulance. Koehn told the dispatcher that his girlfriend, Cheyanne Harris, 20, had fed 4-month-old Sterling at 9 a.m., and he was fine. He then said she checked on the boy again at 11 or 11:30 a.m and he had died.

But a medical examiner’s report disputes Koehn’s account, finding that Sterling’s body had maggots in various states of development on his clothing and skin, indicating that the child hadn’t had a diaper change or been removed from the powered swing in the apartment in over a week. He weighed less than seven pounds at the time of his autopsy.

The death was ruled a homicide by failure to provide critical care.

“The facts of this case go far beyond neglect and show circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to human life,” reads the criminal complaint.

The Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier obtained Department of Correctional Services reports filed in conjunction with the arrests that indicate Koehn was in substance abuse treatment and had last used methamphetamine about two months ago.

Harris was also in substance abuse treatment, according to the paper, and last used meth two or three weeks before her arrest. She also told officials she was being treated for post traumatic stress disorder, the paper reports, citing the correctional services documents.

Koehn and Harris have both been charged with murder and child endangerment resulting in death. Both remain jailed pending trial.

An older child found in the home was unharmed.

Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Office told CBS News’ Crimesider they were unable to provide information about why it took nearly two months for charges to be brought against the couple.