Documents: Mother, grandfather accused of putting baby in trash bag, leaving body in ditch

Megan Staude, left, and Rodney Staude, right, are both facing charges of first-degree murder.
Megan Staude, left, and Rodney Staude, right, are both facing charges of first-degree murder.(Warren County Jail)
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 12:44 PM CDT
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Warning: The information in this story is graphic and may be disturbing to some.

NORWALK, Iowa (KTIV/KCRG) - A central Iowa woman and her father are facing first-degree murder charges after a newborn baby’s body was found on the side of a road.

According to court documents, 25-year-old Megan Staude of Norwalk, Iowa gave birth to a boy in late February. But officials claim she put the baby in a box and didn’t care for him for two days.

Staude’s father, 64-year-old Rodney Staude, allegedly helped her place the baby in a trash bag. He was allegedly still alive at the time, according to court documents. The baby reportedly stayed alive for several minutes before he stopped moving.

Authorities allege the bag with the baby’s body was then placed in a ditch outside Norwalk, a suburb of Des Moines. Police later used cadaver dogs to find the body.

During several interviews with Megan Staude, authorities say she gave conflicting information about the death of the baby. Documents state she initially told authorities the baby had died on the way to the hospital, and she was told to go bury him. Then later, she reportedly admitted to the circumstances of the baby’s death.

Police told KCCI that Megan Staude’s coworkers grew suspicious and contacted police after noticing she was no longer pregnant, and her story didn’t add up.

An autopsy has been conducted, and the results are pending. The investigation remains ongoing.

Officials from Iowa Health and Human Services said cases like this highlight the importance of Safe Haven Laws.

Any child up to 90 days old can be left at any hospital or healthcare facility, and parents will not face any prosecution.

People can also surrender babies by calling 911.