The mother and grandfather of a newborn baby found dead in an Iowa ditch have been charged with first-degree murder, and court documents say they told investigators the child was still alive when they put him in a garbage bag and dumped him.

Megan K. Staude, 25, told police the baby was born at home on Feb. 24, according to a police affidavit. She told authorities she put him in a box and didn’t provide any help for two days before she and her father, Rodney A. Staude, 64, put him in a bag.

Iowa blamed for newborn deaths
Megan Staudt is pictured in this photo provided by the Warren County Jail Wednesday, March 15, 2023, in Indianola, Iowa.

/ AP

Rodney Staude also confessed and said he helped his daughter get rid of the bag in a ditch near Norwalk, according to the documents.

Both Staudes initially told police the baby died on the way to the hospital after he was born, authorities said. Megan Stoudt said she buried him in a cemetery in Cumming, Iowa, but authorities found no evidence of a fresh grave in the cemetery.

On March 8, law enforcement officers received a tip from staff member Megan Staude that led to the discovery of the body. On March 13, a witness showed authorities a text message with Megan Staude, in which the witness asked her, “Was the baby alive when you left him?” and she replied, “A little bit,” the complaint states.

“It’s just a tragic coincidence on a number of levels,” Norwalk Police Chief Greg Staples told The Des Moines Register. “This kid didn’t have a choice to decide his own fate, and now people are in prison because of it.”

Autopsy results are pending and the investigation is ongoing.

Rodney and Megan Staude are being held in the Warren County Jail on $1 million bond each.

Authorities told the Register that they do not know who the child’s father is.

CBS affiliate KCCI-TV reports that the city of Norwalk alleges that the home where the child was born has been an unsavory place for several months. The city claims the house is deteriorating and unsafe to live in, the station reported.

Neighbors told KIPP that the house had been in poor condition for a long time.

“Exhausted, just in a state of disrepair,” said Days Guth.

Iowa has a Safe Harbor Act. which allows someone to leave an infant under the age of 3 months in a hospital or medical facility without being prosecuted.

Safe Haven babies are then placed in foster or adoptive families.

According to the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, “Parents may also contact 911 and relinquish physical custody of an infant under 90 days of age to an immediate responder.”

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