Tahlequah Daily Press

January 2, 2014

Pacheco pleads to murder charge

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — A foster mother accused of killing a 2-year-old girl last month at her Woodall home entered a not-guilty plea Tuesday morning.

Delila Pacheco, 47, appeared before Associate District Judge Mark Dobbins to enter her plea on first-degree murder charges. Dobbins ordered Pacheco back in Cherokee County District Court Feb. 5 at 9 a.m. for a preliminary hearing.

Pacheco was jailed without bond in December when Cherokee County sheriff’s investigators were called to her Woodall home, where 2-year-old Alysa Horney was found unresponsive.

Initial findings from the state’s medical examiner reported Alysa had suffered some sort of blunt-force trauma which resulted in a lacerated liver.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation was called in to assist sheriff’s investigators, and child-welfare investigators removed several children from Pacheco’s home after her arrest, including the older sister of Alysa.

According to Alysa’s mother, Holly Horney, her two daughters had been living with Pacheco, a family member, for several months while Horney was going through rehabilitation.

Several reviews are underway into the Department of Human Services, which allowed Pacheco to become a foster parent despite a 2011 assault arrest and her alleged admission at the time that she had previously used illegal narcotics.

A spokesperson for DHS said they checked into Pacheco’s back story, interviewed several references, and also took into account that Pacheco was not charged in 2011 for the alleged assault.

Meanwhile, Horney is hoping the state will allow her to take her older daughter back.

Horney said she was initially set to get her daughters back in October, but the state later postponed that decision until next February.

jnewton@tahlequahdailypress.com