Baby Left in Swing for Days Was Covered in Maggots and Died of 'Diaper Rash' — as Dad Is Sentenced

Baby Left in Swing for Days Was Covered in Maggots and Died of 'Diaper Rash' — as Dad Is Sentenced

An Iowa father whose son died after being left in a motorized swing for more than a week was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday, according to multiple reports.

Zachary Koehn, 29, was sentenced in the August 2017 death of his nearly 4-month old son, Sterling Koehn, local stations WHOTV and KCRG, and the Des Moines Register report. He was convicted in November on charges of first-degree murder and child endangerment causing death.

Sterling was found dead in the motorized swing in the couple’s Alta Vista apartment covered in maggots and sores, according to a criminal complaint obtained by PEOPLE.

He had been wearing the same diaper and had been left in the swing for nine to 14 days, according to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. He weighed just under 7 pounds when he died.

Sterling’s mother, Cheyanne Harris, 21, has also been charged with first-degree murder and pleaded not guilty, according to the complaint.

The final days of Sterlings life were painful, prosecutors said. He was kept in a bedroom that had its windows covered and its door closed. The room was hot, which attracted flies, and as he sat in the swing, his diaper ate through his skin, causing the skin to rupture. E. coli bacteria eventually set in, entering his bloodstream and causing infection, the Courier reports.

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Prosecutors noted that while Sterling suffered, Koehn and Harris cared for a healthy 2-year-old daughter in the same apartment, the paper reports.

“He was aware of what was going on and he chose to do nothing,” said Assistant Iowa Attorney General Denise Timmins.

Sterling eventually died of dehydration, malnutrition and infection, according to the Register.

“He died of diaper rash. That’s right, diaper rash,” Assistant Iowa Attorney General Coleman McAllister said during opening statements for Koehn’s trial, according to the Associated Press.

Koehn’s attorneys argued that while Sterling’s death was tragic, Koehn’s actions did not justify a murder charge, the Register reports.

PEOPLE was unable to immediately reach Koehn’s attorneys on Wednesday and it is unclear if he plans to appeal his conviction or sentence.

Harris will go to trial in January, the Register reports. She plans to use intoxication as a defense, the Register reports. 

PEOPLE was unable to immediately reach Harris’ attorney for comment.

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