The trial of Zachary Koehn, a 29-year-old man, arrested on August 30, 2017 on charges of murder and endangering the life of a child, began in a court in Henry County, Iowa, on Monday.
Koehn called 911 on the day he was arrested at 1:00 in the afternoon to report that his son, Sterling Koehn, four months old, was dead. “Around nine o’clock my girlfriend went to check the child, and then, like at 11 or 11:30, she went to check again and the baby was gone,” was heard in the recording that brought to the court the records of the emergency call center.
When the authorities entered Koehn’s apartment they found the baby’s body in a dark room with signs of malnutrition and worms on his clothes after his diaper was not changed for weeks.
According to testimony in court by medical examiner Dennis Klein, the baby died from denial of critical care. Klein presented the pictures showing the condition of the baby’s body where officers could be seen removing layers of urine-soaked blankets and clothing that had been placed on the stool-stained swing seat, in which the officers had rescued the body of the child.
He also showed where the worms had nested in the cloth of the diaper, so he could conclude that this situation took weeks once the larvae had already turned into worms.
The doctor assured the jury that behind the death of little Sterling there were three clear causes: malnutrition, dehydration and severe dermatitis that caused skin wounds. “Each of these conditions would have been sufficient individually to kill any baby,” explained the doctor who said he had no doubt that this case is a homicide.
Meanwhile, social worker Sheila Schroeder – who approached Zachary Koehn and the mother of the youngest Cheyanne Harris two days after the baby’s death – told the jury in court that the father’s explanation was that he had died. sudden death syndrome. He also warned that not only Koehn had admitted the use of methamphetamine, but reviewing medical records found that in the hospital where the baby was born traces of this drug were found in the child’s umbilical cord.
The social worker explained that another daughter of the couple of 2 years had been taken to a temporary home while the facts are clarified.
Officer John Turbett, who previously interviewed the father of the deceased baby, revealed to the jury that Zachary Koehn had confessed that he had never changed the baby’s diaper and that he had occasionally given Sterling a bottle, because “those were usually responsibilities of Cheyanne Harris, the mother, and that his was to take care of the daughter “. He said that the last time he had fed the baby had been a few weeks before.
Koehn would also have told Officer Turbett that one day before he died the baby grabbed his fingers and was very wide awake, attitudes that the forensic doctor Klein doubted were possible: “In the last days of Sterling it is likely that he had been lethargic , not responding to stimuli and without interacting with others, and probably would have lost their crying, “explained the doctor.
The trial of Zachary Koehn, who had to be changed from location by the animosity that generated this death among the community, will continue this week . The authorities are still waiting to hear the version of events that the baby’s mother, Cheyanne Harris, has to tell, whose trial will be carried out separately.
Erika White is a graduate of Parsons School of Design. Erika is based in Manhattan but travels much of the year. Erika has written for NPR, Motherboard, MSN Money, and the Huffington Post. Here at Tundra tribune, Erika covers entertainment stories, focusing on performance arts and culture.