WARNING: The following contains graphic details of the child's death.
The parents of a 4-month-old Iowa boy have been charged with murder after prosecutors say the boy was covered in maggots and "died of diaper rash."
20-year-old Cheyanne Harris and 28-year-old Zachary Koehn face first-degree murder charges after their infant son Sterling was found dead last summer weighing less than 7 pounds and in a diaper that hadn't been changed in over a week.
Last summer, Koehn called to report that his son had died a few hours after Harris fed Sterling.
Sterling was found dead in a powered swing in a different bedroom than where his parents and their other child slept.
The State Medical Examiner's Office found the infant was well below the fifth percentile in size and weight for a 4-month-old. According to the criminal complaint, a forensic entomologist determined the baby "had not had a diaper change, bath, or been removed from the seat in over a week." Maggots were also found on the child's skin and in his clothing.
“He died of diaper rash. That's right, diaper rash," Assistant Attorney General Coleman McAllister told the jury during his statement in Koehn's trial this week. McAllister said the feces in Sterling's diaper attracted the maggots and the baby's irritated skin ruptured, causing an E. coli infection to develop.
During testimony this week, an EMT who responded to the couple's apartment testified the entire room was hot and smelled of urine.
"His eyes were open, and it was a blank stare," Toni Friedrch told the courtroom. She recalled thinking, "This isn't right, this is not a baby who I can do CPR on."
Koehn's trial continues this week. Harris will be tried separately.