Judge denies request to modify house arrest condition for woman charged with murdering infant

A woman charged with murdering an infant at a Eudora home day care asked a judge last month to allow a friend — who’s a witness in the murder case — to help her with errands while she’s on house arrest.

That is not going to happen, Douglas County District Court Judge Sally Pokorny ruled this week.

“House arrest is house arrest,” Pokorny said. “I think the defendant can figure out accommodations for how she can not be in jail.”

Defendant Carrody Buchhorn of Eudora appeared in court Wednesday for a preliminary hearing.

Carrody Buchhorn

Buchhorn’s house arrest conditions include having no contact with witnesses in the case.

At a hearing last month, through her attorney Paul Morrison, she had asked the judge to modify conditions to allow the friend to visit and help with errands. Morrison said then that Buchhorn’s family was facing logistical problems with the house arrest, including her husband, who often leaves town on weekends for work, having to stay at home to run to the grocery store and to perform other tasks.

Morrison said Wednesday that, in contrast with the state’s position, he and Buchhorn do not believe the friend is a material witness. He said the friend wasn’t there when the baby died and that evidence in the case stems from conversations Buchhorn had with her months later.

“She arrived at the scene of this after the fact,” Morrison said. “The victim had been transported.”

Buchhorn is accused of killing 9-month-old Oliver Ortiz Sept. 29, 2016, while he was in her care at Sunshine Kids Group Daycare Home, 1307 Chestnut Lane in Eudora.

On April 14, 2017, she was arrested and charged with one count of first-degree murder.

Oliver Ortiz

According to an affidavit filed with the court in support of Buchhorn’s arrest, an autopsy determined that Oliver died of blunt force trauma — specifically, an approximately 3-inch fracture at the base of his skull that would have resulted in noticeable symptoms and required immediate medical attention.

Emergency responders were dispatched to the day care, where they found Oliver unresponsive and Buchhorn performing CPR, according to the affidavit. The infant was driven by ambulance to Lawrence Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The day care has since been closed by an emergency order from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Buchhorn’s attorney said Wednesday that he is still waiting to obtain “significant evidence” from the state, including text messages and a taped police interview, and will need additional time to review it. The judge scheduled Buchhorn’s next court hearing for Aug. 24.