The family of a teen accused of burning and burying her newborn baby in her parent’s backyard are defending her actions.
Over the summer, 18-year-old Brooke Skylar Richardson was charged with reckless homicide after police in Carlisle, Ohio made the discovery of a dismembered and burned body, Dayton Daily News reports. Those charges were later upgraded, following a grand jury indictment, to aggravated murder, voluntary manslaughter, child endangerment and gross abuse of a corpse.
Several of Richardson’s family members - the teen’s maternal and paternal grandparents, some uncles, aunts, and cousins - spoke to the Cincinnati Magazine.
All of them told the publication that they believe their relative is innocent of the charges. They said they believe the baby was born stillborn, and that the only one aware of Richardson’s pregnancy was Richardson herself. The family members said they think that Richardson was scared. “They agree that the disposal of the stillborn baby was improper, but that Richardson’s crimes do not come close to the charges of murder,” the paper reports.
The family disclosed that Richardson went to routine appointments at a OB-GYN in July, where she told her doctor she had given birth to a stillborn baby. That doctor’s office tipped off police, who brought the teen in for questioning the very same day. Without a lawyer, Richardson confessed and led police to the baby’s burial site. She was arrested and charged with reckless homicide a few days later. Her family claims that police told the teen that an autopsy showed her baby was born alive, a claim her family doesn’t believe.
“Skylar is a pleaser, and she was already blaming herself about the baby being stillborn,” said relative Vanessa, who only wants to go by her first name. “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.”
“When they questioned her, I would say that they took her apart,” another family named Jay said.
Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell argued that others were probably aware, or at least suspicious, of the girl’s pregnancy.
“I mean she is 38 to 40 weeks pregnant at the prom, which is two days before this happened, wearing fairly tight attire. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out,” he said.
But, family members maintained they didn’t know. Many said they were just happy to see that Richardson, who struggled with eating disorders, had gained weight.
[Photo: Warren County Sheriff's Office]