TOPEKA (AP/KSNW) – The Kansas Court of Appeals has ordered a new trial for a Douglas County woman who was convicted of murder after a baby died at her day care center.

The appeals court said Carrody Buchhorn of Eudora received ineffective counsel before she was convicted in 2018 of second-degree murder in the death of 9-month-old Oliver “Ollie” Ortiz. He was found unresponsive at the day care in 2016.

Ortiz was found unresponsive in a crib at the day care after an afternoon nap. While the day care owner called 911, Buchhorn performed CPR on the baby. First responders also tried to revive him, but he did not survive.

A coroner said Ortiz died instantly following a blow to the head, possibly from being stepped on.

Buchhorn was the last person who admitted having contact with the baby. She denied harming him, but the state charged her with murder.

The court said Buchhorn’s attorney did not properly question or investigate the coroner’s ruling that the boy died from a blow to the head.

In closing, we hearken back to the sage observations made by the Robinson court.
56 Kan. App. 2d at 212. It is not an easy decision to grant a new trial to someone who has
been convicted of killing another human being. But more important than the severity of
the crime is the fundamental principle of American law—all accused must receive a fair
trial, even those accused of killing a child. That legal principle has guided our decision to
order a new trial for Carrody M. Buchhorn”


The Douglas County District Attorney’s office said it plans to appeal Friday’s ruling to the Kansas Supreme Court.