Some news stories covering what some parents do to their children are so completely shocking, it’s hard to believe they are real.
As a parent, it’s tough to watch the news and see stories about shootings in schools, natural disasters, and things outside our control that can hurt our children.
Then you have stories like the one you are about to read, that are so disgusting and tragic, that leave you struggling to comprehend how parents could not only let these things happen to their children; but do this to them in the first place.
Facebook; pictured above are Sterling’s parents, Cheyanne and Zachary
Sterling Daniel Koehn is pictured below with his parents. His father is Zachary Koehn.
Facebook; Sterling Daniel Koehn is pictured above with his parents
His mother is Cheyanne Harris.
Sterling left this world far too soon, at just 4 months of age.
Zachary and Cheyanne are the reason Sterling is no longer alive.
Sterling could still be here if not for Zachary and Cheyanne.
Reed Palo, a Sheriff’s Deputy of Chickasaw County stated this in the criminal complaints filed against the two of them:
Facebook; 21-year-old Cheyanne Harris and 28-year-old Zachary Koehn are pictured above
“The facts of this case go far beyond neglect and show circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to human life.”
Zachary and Cheyanne both were Meth users that had been in and out of treatment.
Their relationship was on-again, off-again.
Facebook; pictured above is the ultrasound of Sterling that Cheyanne Harris posted while she was pregnant with her son
The two of them moved to Alta Vista, Iowa right after Sterling was born. Sterling was not their first or only child; they also had a two-year-old daughter together.
Zachary was employed as a truck driver so he would frequently have to leave home for long periods of time for his job. Cheyanne did not work at all. She stayed home.
Facebook; pictured above are Cheyanne and Zachary
“I talked to Zach a lot. He did have concerns about the child being taken care of while he was gone,” Danny Koehn, his brother, told USA Today.
Facebook; pictured above Cheyanne snaps a selfie while wearing a tank top
He went on to say, “It’s still the responsibility of the parents of the child.”
“So I’m not saying he’s innocent.”
Danny attended the vigil held in Sterling’s memory that was organized after his death in the town.
“I wanted to support their awareness for child abuse,” Danny offered. “No child deserves to go through anything like that.”
Facebook; pictured above Cheyanne and Zachary’s daughter sits on Zachary’s lap in his work truck
“I honestly think he will spend the rest of his life in prison,” Danny said of Zachary.
He deserves that life sentence, and the reasons why will shock you.
Facebook; pictured above Zachary smiles along with a child
Amanda Reynolds knew Zachary for about 10 years, and she said to Heavy that, “Zach was a very nice, mellow human being. He came from a good family.”
“I knew they killed him,” Amanda went on to say.
“It hurt because I can see all their Facebook activity, and they wanted sympathy from everyone.
It’s heartbreaking…I have two kids and I can’t imagine doing this to them.
Had I known, I would have taken Sterling in a heartbeat.”
Truly, nobody close to the couple knew what went on inside their own home, or what happened to their poor young son.
Facebook; pictured above Cheyanne snaps a selfie
After Sterling’s death, Zachary posted the above photo to his Facebook account with the caption, “loving the clean life.”
Cheyanne, sitting next to him, flaunts her new tattoos, that yes, she got after Sterling’s death.
Facebook; pictured above Cheyanne and Zachary snap a photo together, which Zachary captioned, “Loving the clean life”
This was also posted after their older daughter had been taken away from them
“Got to see my little girl we get to see her again for a little bit tomorrow.”
Zachary posted about their daughter that had been taken away from them after Sterling’s death and before he was incarcerated.
Facebook; pictured above Cheyanne snaps a selfie while wearing a hat
He posted quite frequently on Facebook, although rarely mentioned Sterling and what happened to him.
What did happen to Sterling?
Facebook; pictured above Cheyanne smiles for a photo with the daughter she had taken away
Sterling was found dead in Zachary and Cheyanne’s apartment on August 30th, 2017.
Zachary had made the call to 911 stating that his son was unresponsive.
The medics and officers that arrived on the scene found that his diaper hadn’t been changed in over a week.
They also discovered maggots crawling all over him.
He died in a powered swing, that is supposed to be for a baby’s enjoyment. It ended up being his place of torture.
Facebook; pictured above Zachary smiles for a photo with the daughter he had taken away
When the autopsy on him was performed, the truth came out about the horrors he really had endured at the hands of his own parents.
Medical examiners found “maggots in various stages of development” in Sterling’s skin and clothing, according to their autopsy report.
The manner of Sterling’s death was homicide, and court papers said his death was due to his parents failing to provide him with critical care.
Facebook; pictured above is Sterling; Cheyanne and Zachary’s young son
That’s not all though……..
Authorities have reason to believe Sterling was left in that powered swing for over a week.
Aside from Zachary and Cheyanne not changing his diaper that entire time, he also hadn’t been bathed or kept clean. How could parents do this to their own child?!
Furthermore, Sterling weighed less than 5 pounds.
Facebook; Cheyanne smiles a little in the above selfie she took
That is less than what newborns weigh on average in the United States, which is 7 pounds. He wasn’t a newborn though, he was 4 months old.
Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Office; pictured above is Zachary’s mugshot after he was arrested
Cam Haar and Bella Snyder lived down the hall from the apartment that Cheyanne and Zachary shared with Sterling while he was alive.
The couple had no idea that something so horrific was occurring pretty much next to their own home. Cam and Bella have their own child, an 11-month-old, so this hit home to them.
They also reported that they never saw Sterling or Cheyanne and Zachary’s daughter before she was taken away from them. They barely even knew the pair of terrible parents had children.
Facebook; pictured above is Sterling laying on a baby blanket
Speaking to USA Today, Cam said with a lot of emotion, “It’s sick. You couldn’t put anything else in the newspaper. Being a father myself, there is no (expletive) way to explain it.”
Twitter; pictured above is a photo of Cheyanne
Kim Judge, a local resident from a nearby town, organized a candlelight vigil for Sterling.
Facebook; pictured above is Sterling shortly after he was born
“I was so angry I felt I needed to do something,” she told USA Today.
Facebook; pictured above is Sterling
“I grew up in a big city and you see this, but in a small town it hurts more.” She added
“Hopefully, we can bring awareness to child abuse and neglect,” Kim continued.
“But mainly we felt we needed to do something for this baby.”
Zachary was the first of Sterling’s parents to be sentenced, and he got life in prison.
Facebook; pictured above is a post from Cheyanne’s mom Brandy about her daughter
Cheyanne was finally sentenced to life in prison after Zachary was for what she did after a jury found her guilty of child endangerment resulting in death and murder.
Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Office; pictured above is Cheyanne’s mugshot after she was arrested