Murder trial approaching for Eudora day care worker charged with killing baby; wrongful death suit settled

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 murder trial for a Eudora day care worker accused of killing a baby boy is on track to begin in July, attorneys told a judge this week.

Carrody M. Buchhorn, 43, of Eudora, is scheduled to begin an eight-day jury trial on July 16.

Buchhorn, who remains on house arrest, appeared for a status conference in the case Friday in Douglas County District Court, where prosecutors and her attorneys said they would be ready for the scheduled trial.

At the hearing, attorneys discussed several evidence matters in preparation for the trial.

Among those, defense attorneys Paul Morrison and Veronica Dersch described portions of the autopsy video that would be muted or blurred to avoid causing “distress” that could unfairly sway jurors in the extra-sensitive case in which the deceased is an infant.

Nine-month-old Oliver “Ollie” Ortiz was found unresponsive the afternoon of Sept. 29, 2016, at Sunshine Kids Group Daycare Home at 1307 Chestnut Lane in Eudora.

The coroner ruled Oliver’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, Buchhorn — prosecutors say she was the only person with Oliver when his fatal injuries occurred — was charged with first-degree murder.

In April, Oliver’s parents, Robert and Kaylen Ortiz, filed a civil wrongful death lawsuit in Johnson County District Court against the day care operators in whose home Oliver died, Gina Brunton and husband Morgan Eric Brunton.

The court approved a wrongful death settlement on April 24, and the case was terminated, Johnson County court records show.

In planning Buchhorn’s defense in the murder case, her attorneys have said she was not the only person around Oliver that day.

They said Gina Brunton was at the home and also fed and checked on Oliver, Brunton’s husband 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 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.


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