Iowa Mother Gets Life Sentence for Murdering 4-Month-Old Baby Found in Maggot-Infested Diaper

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An Iowa woman whose infant son's lifeless body was found in a baby swing has been imprisoned for life without possibility of parole.

Cheyanne Harris is seen in a booking photo released by the Chickasaw County Sheriff's Office.
Cheyanne Harris is seen in a booking photo released by the Chickasaw County Sheriff's Office.

Court records say 22-year-old Cheyanne Harris was sentenced Tuesday in New Hampton to the state-mandated penalty, and her request for a new trial was denied. A jury found her guilty Feb. 6 of first-degree murder and child endangerment causing death.

The charges stem from the death of 4-month-old Sterling Koehn, whose body was found Aug. 30, 2017, in a maggot-infested diaper at an apartment in Alta Vista. The swing was in a sweltering bedroom.

An autopsy shows he died of malnutrition, dehydration and an E. coli infection.

The baby's father, Zachary Koehn, also has been sentenced to life in prison.

During Koehn's trial, a forensic entomologist was able to determine the child “had not had a diaper change, bath, or been removed from the seat in over a week.”

He died of diaper rash. That's right, diaper rash," Assistant Attorney General Coleman McAllister said during his statement in the first defendant's trial.

Prosecutors argued that Koehn was a meth user who also provided Harris with drugs.

Assistant Attorney General Denise Timmins told jurors that Koehn was home often enough to know that the baby wasn't being cared for and did nothing to help him.

"He let Sterling rot in that room. He left him there to die," Timmins said.

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