Eudora baby’s parents sue operators of home day care where he died

Nine-month-old Oliver Ortiz, left, died Sept. 29, 2016, at Eudora's Sunshine Kids Group Daycare Home, right. The coroner ruled the baby’s death a homicide.

The parents of a baby boy who died in 2016 after allegedly suffering fatal injuries at a Eudora home day care are suing the operators of the day care.

Gina Brunton and Morgan Eric Brunton are named as defendants in a wrongful death lawsuit filed Thursday in Johnson County District Court, according to court records. The plaintiffs are Robert and Kaylen Ortiz, parents of 9-month-old Oliver Ortiz.

Gina Brunton ran Sunshine Kids Group Daycare Home out of her house, at 1307 Chestnut Lane in Eudora.

Oliver was found unresponsive at the day care the afternoon of Sept. 29, 2016, and paramedics were unable to revive him. The coroner ruled the baby’s death a homicide, caused by blunt force trauma to the head and torso.

The day care closed down shortly after Oliver’s death.

In April 2017, a woman who worked with Brunton at the day care was charged in Douglas County District Court with first-degree murder for allegedly causing the injuries that killed Oliver.

Carrody M. Buchhorn, 43, of Eudora is scheduled to go on trial beginning July 16. She remains on house arrest.

Prosecutors have said the only person with Oliver when his injuries occurred was Buchhorn.

Buchhorn’s attorneys Paul Morrison — former Kansas attorney general and Johnson County district attorney — and Veronica Dersch, however, have previously said they want to assert evidence at trial that someone other than Buchhorn could have killed Oliver.

Brunton was at the home and also fed and checked on Oliver throughout the day, Buchhorn’s attorneys wrote in one related motion. They said Brunton’s husband also was there for part of the day and that Oliver was around older children who conceivably could have hurt him, too.

The defense has engaged a medical expert who they said is anticipated to dispute the coroner’s findings about the timing and nature of the baby’s injuries and how quickly he would have died from them.