An Iowa woman and her father have been charged with first-degree murder after a deceased newborn was found in a ditch.
Norwalk Police announced Megan Staude, 25, and her father, Rodney Staude, 64, had been arrested on first degree murder charges following a March 9 search in which law enforcement and volunteers “located a deceased newborn along the road in the 5300 block of Delaware Street in Warren County.”
Police indicated they made the grisly discovery after being contacted “with concerns for the safety of a child in Norwalk.”
Information Release: 3/13/2023
Posted by Norwalk Police Department, Iowa on Monday, March 13, 2023
The Des Moines Register reported the tip had come from one of Megan Staude’s coworkers on March 8.
Citing court documents, the Register reported Megan Staude allegedly confessed to failing to provide care for the child after giving birth on February 24. Staude and her father allegedly put the baby first in a box and later in a garbage bag before his death.
The Associated Press reported police had seen texts messages between Staude and her coworkers allegedly indicating the child was alive when he was abandoned:
Law enforcement officers received a tip from Megan Staude’s co-workers on March 8, leading to the discovery of the body. On March 13, a witness showed authorities a text conversation with Megan Staude, in which the witness asked her, “Was the baby alive when you left him?” and she replied, “A little,” the complaint says.
The AP reported that both suspects had allegedly claimed that after the home birth, the child had died before they could seek medical attention. Megan Staude allegedly told officers she had buried the child in a cemetery, but a search failed to yield evidence of a burial there.
The Register reported Rodney Staude allegedly denied knowledge of the child’s death at first before later changing his story and helping officers locate the remains.
“It’s just a tragic set of circumstances on a number of levels,” Norwalk police chief Greg Staples told the Register. “That baby didn’t have the choice to decide his own fate and now there’s people in jail because of it.”
The investigation is ongoing, and both the Staudes are being held on $1 million bond each, per the Register.
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