Murder trial pushed back 5 months for woman accused of killing baby at Eudora day care

Eudora resident Carrody Buchhorn, top left, is accused of killing 9-month-old Oliver Ortiz, bottom left, while he was in her care at Eudora's Sunshine Kids Group Daycare Home, right.

The woman accused of killing a baby boy at a Eudora home day care was scheduled to face a jury in three weeks, but her murder trial has now been pushed back a full five months.

Defense attorneys for Carrody M. Buchhorn, 43, of Eudora, requested the delay, which Douglas County District Court Judge Sally Pokorny granted on Friday.

Instead of beginning Feb. 12, the eight-day murder trial is now scheduled to start July 16. Buchhorn, who is on house arrest, agreed to waive her speedy trial right.

Buchhorn’s attorneys have said that an out-of-state forensic pathologist reviewing the Douglas County coroner’s findings would likely dispute the timing and nature of the baby’s injuries and how quickly he would have died from them.

That expert witness only received tissue samples requested from the state in late December and needs more time to review them and consult with his colleagues, defense attorney Paul Morrison said.

“We talk to him on a weekly basis,” Morrison said. “He cannot be ready in February.”

Buchhorn is charged with one count of first-degree murder in the case. She is accused of killing 9-month-old Oliver “Ollie” Ortiz on Sept. 29, 2016, while Oliver was in her care at Sunshine Kids Group Daycare Home at 1307 Chestnut Lane in Eudora.

Oliver was found unresponsive at the home day care that afternoon, 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.

Buchhorn was charged with murder in April 2017. Following a preliminary hearing in September, the judge bound her over for trial on the charge, and she pleaded not guilty.

Her attorneys on Friday also repeated a request that Buchhorn be allowed to have contact with a close friend who is considered a witness in the case.

Buchhorn remains on house arrest, her two adult sons are or soon will be out of the county and state attending college, and her husband will be deployed overseas for a year with the Army beginning in February, Morrison said.

“Frankly, she needs a little bit of help,” Morrison said.

Prosecutor C.J. Rieg said the friend was the first person Buchhorn talked to after the incident and emphasized that she had not yet taken the witness stand. Rieg said Buchhorn could turn to other people and services.

“Being at home is much better than being in the county jail,” Rieg said. “I don’t believe there’s too much of a hardship that you would need this particular person.”

The judge again denied the request for Buchhorn to have contact with that friend.