Dad charged with murder after baby dies from 'extreme' nappy rash

WARNING: this story contains details you might find upsetting

November 04 2018

A father was charged with murder after his son was found suffering from 'extreme' nappy rash.

WARNING: This story contains graphic details that are disturbing.

Four-month-old baby, Sterling Koehn, was found dead, covered in maggots and wearing a nappy that hadn't been changed in around nine to 14 days, a court heard.

 His father, Zachary Paul Koehn, is on trial for murder and child endangerment. The boy's mother, Cheyanne Harris, is also charged and faces a separate trial at a later date.


Justice for baby Sterling Daniel Koehn/Facebook

Justice for baby Sterling Daniel Koehn/Facebook


Prosecutor, Coleman McAllister, said the severe nappy rash had caused open wounds which attracted flies, who had laid eggs that hatched into maggots. Bacteria then entered the baby's bloodstream, and the baby subsequently died of malnutrition, starvation, and the infection.

The nurse who first responded to the 911 call about Sterling, from Iowa, said dad Zachary showed no emotions as he led her to his child, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported.

Toni Friedrich, the first responder, spoke to jurors in the dad’s murder trial recalling what had happened when she arrived at Sterling's home and Koehn led her to the baby.

“His eyes were open, and it was a blank stare,” she said of Sterling Koehn. She said when he touched his blanket, gnats flew up.



According to reports, Koehn told police and medics that Harris fed the baby at 9am that morning and the child was fine.  

But he claimed that when he checked on his son at around 11am or 11.30am, he found the baby dead.

Jordan Clark, a former friend of Koehn's, testified that he wasn't even aware the man had a baby. He claimed he had visited Koehn's apartment and seen his other child, a 2-year-old girl who was not found to be neglected or abused, but Koehn allegedly never mentioned Sterling, there was no baby present in the room he was in, and no one went to another room to check on a baby while he was there. 

After the couple's arrest in October last year, it emerged that both have a history of drug use including meth.



Sadly, Koehn's trial has revealed that there were questions about Sterling's safety from the moment he was born.

His umbilical cord tested positive for methamphetamines shortly after his birth. And Jennifer Schriever, who used to babysit Sterling, testified that the first time she cared for him he was underweight and had severe nappy rash.

The trial continues.

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