Thorough investigation of infant murder took months

Sheriff says authorities made certain 'all of our ducks in a row'

Chickasaw County Sheriff Marty Hemann discussed the recent case of an Alta Vista couple charged with murder in the death of of their 4-month-old infant at the Monday morning meeting of the Chickasaw County Board of Supervisors.

The highly-publicized case is still under investigation, so Hemann couldn’t go into much detail, but he did address a question he said he has heard in the days since first-degree murder charges were filed against Zach Koehn, 28, and Cheyanne Harris, 20.

Why did it take two months to file charges?

“We always need to be thorough in our investigation,” said Hemann. “We have to make sure we are fact-based, not emotional, when we file charges.”

Four-month old Sterling Koehn, the child of Zach Koehn and Cheyanne Harris, was found dead in a powered swing seat in a bedroom at their Alta Vista apartment on the afternoon of Aug. 30. Chickasaw County sheriff’s deputies arrested Zachary Paul Koehn, 28, and Cheyanne Renae Harris, 20, for first-degree murder and child endangerment causing death on Wednesday, Oct. 25, nearly two months after the body was found.

Hemann said that the sheriff’s department was working with the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigators, and a lot of scientific and other investigative research needed to be completed by all parties before they could be certain they had an air-tight case.

“We have to have all of our ducks in a row,” Hemann said. “Our people need to bounce things off the DCI, and we needed make sure we were on the same page as the prosecutors. We took our time, we have to build a case before we file charges.”


For more of this article, see Friday's New Hampton Tribune. Also check Friday's Tribune for more on the Chickasaw County Board of Supervisor Meeting and for an update regarding matters at the Chickasaw County Jail.

New Hampton Tribune

10 North Chestnut Ave
New Hampton, IA 50659
Phone: (641) 394-2111

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