CARLISLE, Ohio — An Ohio teenager is facing charges of involuntary manslaughter, endangering children, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse after it is now alleged that she burned her newborn baby before burying the child’s remains in her parents’ back yard.
Brooke “Skylar” Richardson, 18, of Carlisle will go on trial on Nov. 6 after being indicted by a grand jury, and is on house arrest on electronic monitoring in the meantime after posting 10 percent of her $50,000 bond.
As previously reported, Richardson was arrested on July 20 after police received a tip from Hilltop OB-GYN, as she had reportedly told her doctor that her baby had been delivered stillborn. Authorities then discovered an infant buried in a shallow grave behind Richardson’s home and transported the remains to the coroner’s office for further investigation.
Soil samples were also taken to a forensic anthropologist, as well as evidence obtained from the family’s fire pit.
According to WCPO-TV, it was first stated that the sex of the baby could not be determined because the child had been burned and had also decomposed. However, it has since been announced that the newborn was a girl, and was full-term, at approximately 38 to 40 weeks gestation.
“Victim in State v. Richardson will officially be referred to as Baby Jane Doe in legal proceedings,” Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell tweeted. “Testing has confirmed child was a girl.”
Richardson, a former cheerleader and member of the track team, is believed to have given birth in early May less than 48 hours after attending her senior prom. She has since graduated from high school.
“To be frank with you, I’m not sure we ever will provide to you the exact medical cause of death, and the reason for that is because the child was, after death, burned and subsequently buried, and there was significant decomposition to the body,” Fornshell outlined during a press conference.
However, he believes that the baby might have been killed because having a child would not be an “acceptable outcome” for a college student. She planned on attending the University of Cincinnati.
“My personal opinion, based on the evidence, as to motive is that in her mind was that this was not something that was going to be accepted,” Fornshell said.
Richardson’s defense attorney, Charles Rittgers, has contended that the teen would have done no such thing. His client has plead not guilty.
“I can tell you Brooke Skylar Richardson did not kill her baby,” he told reporters.
“I can tell you that Skylar was a very good student,” Rittgers also said following her initial arrest. “She didn’t drink. She wasn’t a partier or a smoker. By all measures a very good girl who helped children … She’s by all means a very good person.”
Rittgers said that Richardson had worked with children with disabilities at a cheerleading camp and also worked with youth at the YMCA.
Judge Don Oda has issued a gag order in the case in order to help prevent an unfair trial.
“Since the arraignment …, each day sees new challenges that jeopardize the guarantee of a free trial,” he wrote. “This right does not just belong to the defendant. The right to a fair adjudication belongs to the prosecution, the alleged victims and the public as well.”