Preliminary autopsy shows 9-month-old boy died of ‘injuries’ at Eudora day care, police say; investigation continues

A preliminary autopsy showed that a 9-month-old boy died “due to injuries” while under the supervision of a Eudora day care, police say.

On Sept. 29, police arrived at Sunshine Kids Group Daycare Home, 1307 Chestnut Lane, for a report of an unresponsive infant, later identified as Oliver Ortiz.

Ortiz was driven by ambulance to Lawrence Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Eudora Police Capt. Daniel Flick said a preliminary autopsy led police to believe Ortiz’s death was suspicious.

The license for Sunshine Kids Group Daycare Home, 1307 Chestnut Lane, Eudora, was placed under emergency suspension after a 9-month-old baby under the facility's care died in September.

When asked about the cause of Ortiz’s death, Flick said he had been injured, but he would not elaborate on the nature of his injuries.

The manner of Ortiz’s death is listed as suspicious, but it is not currently listed as a homicide, Flick said.

It is not clear how or when the infant was injured.

On Friday, more than a week after Ortiz’s death, Flick said no arrests have been made in the case and the investigation is ongoing.

As the Eudora police began their investigation, the department reached out to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office for assistance.

Investigators are still collecting evidence and conducting interviews, Flick said. In the meantime, Ortiz’s family is awaiting answers, he said.

“They’re doing as good as can be expected, losing a 9-month-old child,” he said. “They are anxiously awaiting the autopsy and all the evidence, the same as we are.”

The Eudora Police Department released the news of Ortiz’s death nearly a month after it happened to allow his family time to grieve, Flick said.

A week after Ortiz’s death, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment ordered Sunshine Kids Group Daycare to undergo an emergency suspension of its license, according to the department’s online records. The reason justifying the suspension says only “child care practices.”

As of Friday, the day care’s license was still suspended with a note on the KDHE website saying the emergency order is under appeal and awaiting a hearing.

Cassie Sparks, KDHE public information officer, declined to release details surrounding the order of suspension, citing an open investigation.

A complaint was filed against the day care in July 2015; however, the findings of the resulting survey were not available online and Sparks also declined to release that information.

Other surveys of the day care, posted online, show a number of violations ranging back to 2014. The violations range from incomplete medical records to one instance of a child sleeping in a closed area, away from a staff member.

A representative for Sunshine Kids Group Daycare Home previously declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.