NORWALK, Iowa (WHO) — Court records showed a Norwalk woman and her father admitted to police that a baby boy was still alive when they placed it in a trash bag – before they disposed of the body in a rural ditch.
Megan Staude, 25, and her father, Rodney Staude, 64, are each charged with first-degree murder for the death of the newborn last month. Police said Megan Staude lied to them at first in their investigation before both she and her father admitted to their roles in the baby’s death.
According to an arrest report, co-workers of Megan Staude contacted police on March 8 with concerns about her baby. Staude told police that she had given birth at home and the baby died on the way to the hospital. She said she then buried the baby at cemetery in Cumming, Iowa. But when police searched the cemetery, they found no signs of a recent burial.
When authorities interviewed Rodney Staude, he told authorities that he returned home from work a few weeks prior and found that his daughter had given birth. As he drove her and the baby to a hospital in Des Moines, the baby died – he said. He then placed the baby in a garbage bag and left it in a rural ditch.
Authorities searched the area with a cadaver dog and recovered the remains of a newborn baby boy tied in a plastic garbage sack.
In a subsequent interview with police on Monday, Megan Staude told authorities that she had given birth to the baby boy at home on February 24. She said she placed to baby in a box and did not “touch nor provide care to the baby” for two days as it cried in the box. On February 26, Megan Staude said she and her father placed the baby in a garbage bag. The baby was still alive and moving when they closed the bag, according to police, and stopped moving after several moments in the garbage bag.
Authorities do not know who the father of the child is at this time. Paternity tests are pending to determine fatherhood. Megan and Rodney Staude are both due in court again on March 24 for a preliminary hearing. They are being held on $1 million bond each.