The mother and grandfather of a newborn were arrested and charged with first-degree murder after the infant was found dead in a trash bag in a roadside ditch in Iowa.
The baby boy was still alive when they put him in a trash bag and left him to die, according to court documents.
Megan K. Staude, 25, of Norfolk, told police that her baby was born on Feb. 24, according to an arrest affidavit.
She said she left the baby in a box for two days and did not provide him with any care as he cried before she and her father stuffed the child in a bag.
Rodney Staude, 64, confessed that he had helped his daughter get rid of the newborn not far from their home, according to the documents.
The mother and father initially told police that the baby died on the way to the hospital after he was born. Megan Staude said she had buried the baby at a cemetery in Cumming, Iowa, but authorities found no trace of a recently dug grave there.
Authorities were tipped off by Megan Staude’s co-workers on March 8, who grew suspicious when they noticed she was no longer pregnant.
The following day, law enforcement found a dead newborn on Delaware Street with the help of cadaver dogs, KCCI reported.
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,” according to the complaint.
“It’s just a tragic set of circumstances on a number of levels,” Norwalk Police Chief Greg Staples told The Des Moines Register. “That baby didn’t have the choice to decide his own fate, and now there’s people in jail because of it.”
The results of the autopsy are pending and the investigation is ongoing, authorities said.
Rodney and Megan Staude are each being held in the Warren County jail on $1 million bond.
Authorities told the Register they don’t know who the child’s father is.
Iowa’s Safe Haven Act allows parents to hand over newborns who are 90 days or younger to the state to be placed up for adoption or into foster care with no concern for prosecution.
The Staude’s home is now boarded up with signs that say it’s “unsafe to occupy,” according to KCCI.
A neighbor, Chris Hentschel, told the outlet that the baby’s death made him sick.
“We knew she was pregnant. We didn’t know she delivered it,” Hentschel said. “We had no idea.”
“Honestly, I was pretty appalled. Not really surprised though, just cause the vibe they gave. They were kinda weird,” he added.
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