Case dropped against Eudora woman accused in day care death
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The Douglas County District Attorney’s office has decided to drop prosecution of a woman who was accused of killing a 9-month-old boy in 2016 at a Eudora day care where she worked.
District Attorney Suzanne Valdez announced Wednesday a new report from a forensic pathologist found Oliver Ortiz had a congenital heart defect and other pre-existing conditions that led to his death on Sept. 29, 2016, at Kids Group Daycare in Eudora.
Buchhorn, 48, has always maintained that she did not hurt the child, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.
She was convicted of second-degree murder in 2018, based largely on testimony from then-Douglas County Coroner Erik Mitchell that head trauma caused the boy’s death.
The Kansas Court of Appeals overturned the conviction in 2021, in part because Buchhorn’s attorneys did not do enough during the trial to question Mitchell’s findings.
The Kansas Supreme Court sent the case back to Douglas County, where a judge ruled last month that the case be dismissed because prosecutors did not provide a report from a different forensic pathologist in a timely manner.
The decision was appealed until prosecutors received the new the forensic report on Tuesday.
Buchhorn told the Journal-World she was expecting to be arrested again after the holidays.
“I’m going to cry. I feel validated now. It’s such a relief,” said Buchhorn, who added she felt badly that Ollie’s family could have had answers about his death years ago.