Woman guilty in baby’s death at Kansas home day care
EUDORA, Kan. (AP) — A home day care worker in Eudora has been convicted of second-degree murder in the death of a 9-month-old baby who died of blunt force trauma to the head.
Douglas County jurors deliberated 16 hours before finding Carrody Buchhorn, 44, guilty Thursday of unintentionally but recklessly causing the death of Oliver “Ollie” Ortiz, of Eudora, on Sept. 29, 2016, at the Sunshine Kids Group Daycare Home in Eudora, The Lawrence Journal-World reported .
Emergency responders were called to the day care after Oliver became unresponsive but he could not be revived.
The coroner ruled Oliver’s death a homicide. He testified that Oliver had a fractured skull caused by enough force to make him immediately unresponsive and, without intervention, died within minutes. He said such an injury would not be caused by a drop, fall or actions of another child.
Prosecutors Mark Simpson and C.J. Rieg said Buchhorn was the only adult with Oliver when he was injured.
Buchhorn’s attorneys, Paul Morrison and Veronica Dersch, argued the child’s fatal head injury could have been inflicted up to a week before he died, citing testimony by a forensic pathologist they hired to review the autopsy.
In his closing arguments, Simpson said Buchhorn was “disgruntled” with her boss and job and unhappy with Oliver, who cried a lot. He alleged Buchhorn knew she’d hurt Oliver but rather than immediately calling for help, she put him back in his crib and “let him die.”
In his closing arguments, Morrison said Oliver was a “sick little boy,” with ear infections, early stages of pneumonia and something causing him to cry a lot, possibly the undetected skull fracture. He said authorities immediately focused on Buchhorn after Oliver died, using an autopsy that was “beyond sloppy” and an “inept, incomplete police investigation.”
Buchhorn faces between nine and 10 years in prison when she is sentenced Aug. 31.
Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com