Ohio Cheerleader Buries Her Baby's Body And Asks For Charges To Be Dismissed

Photo: Warren County Jail
Who Is Brooke Skylar Richardson? New Details On Ohio Cheerleader Who Buried Baby’s Body And Now Asking For Charges To Be Dismissed
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Update: Closing Closing arguments are set to begin Thursday morning at 9 am CST in the murder trial of Skylar Richardson, who is accused of killing and burying her newborn baby. Follow along live at the Cincinnati Enquirer.

To refresh your memory on the case:, Brooke Skylar Richardson is 20-year-old who allegedly delivered a stillborn baby and buried its remains in her backyard when she was 18. She now faces multiple charges, including aggravated murder, gross abuse of a corpse and child endangerment. Why didn’t she get an abortion? Was she even able to? What happened exactly, and who is Brooke Skylar Richardson?

1. She’s a Carlisle, Ohio native.

In high school, she was a cheerleader and worked during the summer at a camp for kids with disabilities. She graduated with honors and planned to attend the University of Cincinnati to study nursing. Some of her fellow students noted that Richardson always looked put-together. “Her makeup had to be so-so. Her clothes had to be so-so, her hair had to be perfect,” a classmate told People. The motive, investigators allege, was Richardson’s fixation with perfection. She and her mother “were pretty obsessed” with appearances, prosecutors argued. Her family claims that she also suffered from eating disorders.

2. Where is the father?

None of the many articles report any male responsible for impregnating her.  “Every single female member of our family is hurting, they are all beating themselves up over that,” Richardson’s uncle said in an interview. Why the male members of the family aren’t hurting is beyond me, but okay, Uncle Jay.

3. Police questioned her without a lawyer present.

In the cold interrogation room where Richardson sat all alone, she told police the following narrative: She had to urinate. While she sat on the toilet, a baby girl with pale skin came out. The baby never opened her eyes. Skylar said she wrapped the baby in a towel, cradled her for hours and waited for her to open her eyes, breathe, anything — but there were no signs of life. Skylar carried the baby down the stairs and into the garage, took a small garden spade and dug a hole between two trees near the edge of their yard. She put the baby in the pit and dropped wilting pink rose petals she wore for prom on top of the child. Both parents were asleep and say they heard nothing, and they were shocked when they heard what Skylar had done.

4. She has pleaded not guilty.

She was charged in Ohio with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and child endangerment. In a motion filed on August 1, Richardson’s attorneys sought to have all charges dismissed. For some reason, prosecutors are caught up on the issue of whether or not the baby’s remains were burned before burial. A forensic anthropologist initially claimed that the bones had been charred, but later seemed to recant that assertion. In an email exchange with a forensic pathologist, Dr. Elizabeth Murray wrote that “whether the bones were burned or not, that baby was still dead, had unexplained skull fractures, and was buried the backyard. I don’t understand why the burning takes it up such a notch.” The exact cause of death may never be known because of how decomposed the body is.

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5. The case began to unfold in July 2017, when a doctor told police that Richardson may have delivered a stillborn baby.

Police searched the family’s property where they said they found the remains of a newborn girl in Richardson’s backyard. Prosecutors claim that Richardson didn’t want to be an 18-year-old single mom with college only a few months in the future. In the months after learning of her pregnancy, Richardson didn’t return for an ultrasound, bloodwork or any other treatment and ignored calls from the doctor and assistants.

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6. Richardson’s defense attorneys argued that because the baby was stillborn, it didn’t meet the legal criteria to be considered a child.

Her attorneys say she only buried the baby after it was delivered as a stillborn because she didn’t know what to do with the remains. Her Aunt Vanessa said, “Skylar is a pleaser, and she was already blaming herself about the baby being stillborn. She kept wrestling with the distressing idea that she may have somehow caused the baby to be born stillborn, and I think investigators twisted that around to prove that she is guilty of murder.” There’s currently debate over whether or not her doctors should even be allowed to testify in her trial. Some think doing so would violate her privacy rights, as if this entire trial isn’t inherently a massive breach of privacy. Another pretrial hearing will be held on August 19. Her trial is scheduled to begin on September 3.

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7. People in the neighborhood are making the family’s life hell.

The family is no longer welcome at their old church. When cheering on Skylar’s younger brother at football games, the parents endure cold stares. Skylar’s mom says she gets photographed grocery shopping and walking their dogs. Skylar’s parents say that the grisly version of events put forward by police and prosecutors is a false narrative. The real story is of a young girl so fragile and debilitated by eating disorders she wouldn’t chew gum because of its calories. “They told us Skylar has dismembered the baby,” Kim said. “I am trying to think, ‘my daughter, who can’t kill a spider, dismembered a baby and burnt it?’” So much for community.

8. New details emerging about condition of baby

It was recently discovered that Skylar gave birth not to a stillborn, but to a healthy baby girl that she named Annabelle just days after her senior prom. She then killed her baby. The corpse shows evidence of a smashed in skull and of having been burned. She then buried Annabelle in her backyard. Her trial is set to begin on September 3. 

9. Her family knew she was pregnant

Contrary to prior belief, County Prosecutor David Forshell says her family was aware that Skylar was pregnant and were worried about how their community would react to an out-of-wedlock pregnancy. He said: “Skylar and her family, particularly her mother, were pretty obsessed with external appearances and how things appeared to the outside world. You have a situation where, you know, she's a cute high school, recent high school graduate; she was a cheerleader described (as) a good girl by her attorney as you heard after the arraignment. And I think that kind of perception is one that Skylar wanted to perpetuate and her mother wanted to perpetuate.”

Leah Scher is an ENFP and recent graduate of Brandeis University. She's an alumna of the Kenyon Review Young Writer's Workshop the Iowa Young Writers' Studio. She's passionate about Judaism, poetry, film, satire, astrology, spirituality, and sexual health.