Man Blames Wife For Diaper Rash Death Of 4-Month Old Baby Found Cold In His Swing

The baby had been in the same maggot-filled diaper for at least nine days.

Newborn baby in a diaper on the changing table in the delivery room in the hospital, mom, newborn baby in delivery room
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The baby had been in the same maggot-filled diaper for at least nine days.

The Iowa man charged in the diaper rash death of his 4-month-old baby pointed his finger at his wife, saying that she was the only one responsible for changing the baby’s diaper. The baby’s father, Zachary Koehn, is being defended by a lawyer who says that baby Sterling Koehn’s death is a “tragedy but not a crime.”

KMOV is reporting that the baby was found unresponsive in his baby swing in a soiled diaper full of maggots that hadn’t been changed in over nine days. The baby’s mother, Cheyanne Harris, has also been charged in her son’s death, but is being tried separately for the same crime. According to the Cedar Rapids coroner, Sterling Koehn died of malnutrition, dehydration, and the infection.

The baby was in the fifth percentile for height and weight and had sunken eyes, according to EMTs who responded to a 911 call. Toni Friedrich, who was first on the scene, testified that the baby was wearing dirty, crusty clothes, and when she moved his blanket, gnats flew out.

“His eyes were open, and it was a blank stare. This isn’t right. This is not a baby who I can do CPR on,” he said.

KWWL reports that Zachary Koehn testified that he is not to blame for baby Sterling’s death because in his opinion that he “felt it was the job of the baby’s mother [Cheyanne Harris],” to take care of Sterling. He acknowledges that the baby’s mother was suffering from post-partum depression and had been prescribed medication.

“There was a prescription, but I don’t know if she was taking it.”

Koehn’s lawyer asked him basic questions about his job and his background. The defendant talked about his meth use since his teen years and his weak stomach that kept him from changing diapers.

“I don’t do well with diarrhea. I start to vomit… I can’t take that. I have a very weak stomach.”

Koehn said he had not changed a single one of baby Sterling’s diapers, and so was not responsible for the infant’s diaper rash.

Prosecutor Coleman McAllister asked about Koehn’s lack of reaction when he found the baby dead in the swing and wondered why he had left the infant’s body swinging in the seat. Koehn says he likes to stay calm in a crisis.

“When people around me are emotional, I want to be the one who is calm and collected.”

The infant’s father said he could tell the baby was dead because he was cold to the touch. He admits he left Sterling in the baby swing and went outside to smoke a cigarette after calling 911.

Zachary Koehn’s trial continues with its sixth day on Monday.