Iowa mother and grandfather charged with murder of baby boy left to die in ditch

By Cassy Fiano-Chesser

A woman and her father have both been arrested after police discovered the body of an infant in a ditch on the side of the road in Iowa.

Megan Staude, 25, and Rodney Staude, 64, have both been charged with first-degree murder. According to the police affidavit, Megan gave birth at home, and then placed the baby in a box for two days. No one gave the baby any help, care, or aid during that time. Then, both father and daughter placed the baby into a plastic bag and threw him into a ditch.

Both Rodney and Megan told police that the baby boy was still alive when placed into the plastic bag.

“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 two were discovered after Megan’s coworkers called police requesting a welfare check on the baby. Megan originally said the baby died on the way to the hospital, and they buried him in a cemetery. But when police searched the cemetery, they found no evidence of a freshly-dug grave.

Rodney originally said he didn’t know anything about the baby. A day later, he said the baby had died and they had placed the baby’s body into a bag and left it in a ditch. He led police to the location, where the baby’s body was recovered. Police then executed a search warrant, where they found more evidence, including a text conversation between Megan and another witness.

“Was the baby alive when you left him?” the witness asked, and Megan replied, “A little.”

Iowa, like all states, has a Safe Haven law, in which a parent or another person with the parent’s consent can give the state custody of babies. In Iowa, that can occur with children who are 90 days or younger without fear of being prosecuted. The parent can also call 911 and relinquish physical custody.

Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and is reposted with permission.