Medical examiner: Iowa baby severely underweight at death

Zachary Koehn, center, is flanked by attorneys Les Blair III and Steven Drahozal, as he sits in court Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018 in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Assistant Iowa Attorney General Coleman McAllister told jurors Tuesday that Kohn's son, 4-month-old Sterling Koehn had been in the same diaper for nine to 14 days when his body was found in the swing Aug. 30, 2017. Koehn, is charged with murder and child endangerment. The boy's mother, Cheyanne Harris, is also charged and faces a separate trial at a later date. (Jeff Reinitz/The Courier via AP)

MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa (AP) — A medical examiner testified Thursday that a 4-month-old found dead in a maggot-infested baby swing last year weighed only a few ounces more than his birth weight at the time of his death.

The testimony occurred during the murder trial of the baby’s father, 29-year-old Zachary Paul Koehn, who also faces a child endangerment count in the August 2017 death of his son, Sterling Koehn, the Courier reported . Cheyanne Harris, the child’s mother, is also charged and faces a separate trial.

Dr. Dennis Klein, chief medical examiner for the state, said the baby weighed just under 7 pounds (3.18 kilograms) during the autopsy. Klein said the boy should have weighed about 11 pounds (5 kilograms).

Klein ruled out heart defects, bowel obstructions and organic brain issues.

“Nothing natural would have done this,” Klein said. The autopsy showed the baby died of malnutrition, dehydration and an E. coli infection caused after he was left in a soiled diaper for up to two weeks.

Klein laid out graphic details of the baby’s suffering in the last days of his life — details that contradicted Koehn’s statements that he had played with the baby and had heard him crying the day before his death. Klein said the infant was so dehydrated and ill that he would not have been able to cry or respond to stimuli.

Koehn’s trial was moved from Chickasaw County to Henry County to counter pretrial publicity in the case.


Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier,

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