A Lawrence woman who was wrongly convicted of killing a boy who had died from natural causes is hoping for community support to start putting her life back together.
Carrody M. Buchhorn, 48, badly needs psychological counseling that her family cannot afford, Lawrence local Kurt Look wrote on a GoFundMe page launched for Buchhorn on Thursday.
A jury in 2018 found Buchhorn guilty of reckless second-degree murder of a 9-month-old boy who had been in her care at a Eudora day care. The Kansas Court of Appeals overturned the conviction because Buchhorn’s trial attorneys had failed to challenge the coroner’s theory of how the boy died, which top pediatric neurologists called “absolutely false,” “made up” and “fantastical.”
Altogether, Buchhorn spent more than 5 1/2 years in custody of the Douglas County jail, Topeka prison and on house arrest before her case was dismissed in December.
Earlier this month, prosecutors announced that they would not attempt to retry the case after a new expert forensic pathologist determined the boy had likely died from natural causes, including congenital heart disease that was not mentioned in the coroner’s report.
Read more about the case and the pathologist’s report in this article.
Buchhorn’s husband, Tim Buchhorn, is a U.S. Army master sergeant who was deployed overseas when his wife was convicted. He “has been working hard to financially hold the family together in Carrody’s absence,” Look wrote.
“Because the community was outraged by the false charges, Tim and Carrody had to leave the home in Eudora where they had raised their two children,” Look wrote.
“Most of the family’s assets were spent on the trial in 2018 and what property they had was sold to pay the bills of the lawyers the appeals court found let her down,” the fundraiser page continues. “Their two sons, who had just started college when Carrody was charged, don’t have significant financial resources.”
The Buchhorns need help, Look wrote.
“They need to pay for counseling, to buy a car for Carrody, and a downpayment on a house. At age 50, they find themselves starting-out all over again,” Look wrote on the fundraiser page. “Kansas has a statutory claim that Carrody can make against the State for her wrongful conviction. Carrody is pursuing that claim, but it will take time.”
The fundraiser is online at this link. As of Thursday evening, it had raised almost $1,500 of its $100,000 goal.
Buchhorn has also been added to the National Registry of Exonerations. Read more at this link.