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Mother, Grandfather Accused Of Murder After They Put Newborn In Garbage Bag, Left Him To Die In Ditch: Cops

iowa case
Source: Norwalk Police Department

Mar. 15 2023, Published 2:00 p.m. ET

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An Iowa father and daughter are accused of killing a newborn boy by placing him in a garbage bag and leaving him in a ditch.

Rodney Staude, 64, and Megan Staude, 25, of Norwalk are charged with first-degree murder.

Megan Staude gave birth to the child Friday, February 24, court documents state. She reportedly told authorities she placed the baby in a box for two days and gave him little care.

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Staude reportedly added that she and her father put the boy in a trash bag Sunday, February 26. The court documents obtained by Des Moines station KCCI-TV indicate the child was still alive at the time.

The father and daughter then reportedly went outside Norwalk and left the bag with the boy in a ditch.

The Iowa state medical examiner's office has completed an autopsy on the infant but results have not been announced.

According to KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, Megan Staude's co-workers were aware she was pregnant. They reported her to authorities when she was no longer expecting and her explanation of what happened to the pregnancy seemed suspicious.

Detectives interviewed the mother several times in recent days. Court documents show she first claimed the boy died on the way to a hospital and she was instructed to bury him at a home cemetery.

But officers went to the cemetery and found no evidence of fresh grave sites, according to the documents.

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Police claim Staude then admitted Monday she deliberately neglected the baby. Rodney Staude led officers to the area of the ditch, where police cadaver dogs found the baby, according to authorities.

"That baby didn't have the choice to decide his own fate and now there's people in jail because of it," Norwalk Police Chief Greg Staples told The Des Moines Register.

Rodney Staude is held on $1 million bond. Details on his daughter's bond are unavailable.

Iowa has a Safe Haven Law allowing mothers to surrender babies as old as three months to a hospital or health care facility without penalty.


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