Fire official says Carlisle infant death is reminder that there are options for parents in crisis

Ohio is one of 25 Safe Haven law states
Posted at 11:12 PM, Aug 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-07 13:34:18-04

LOVELAND, Ohio -- Brooke "Skylar" Richardson, the Carlisle mother accused of killing, burning and burying her baby, will appear in court Monday, according to Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell.

Fornshell said he decided to not pursue a charge that would be eligible for the death penalty if Richardson is convicted, but she could spend the rest of her life in prison.

A Loveland-Symmes fire official says the tragic incident is a reminder that there are options for parents in crisis.

Safe Haven laws, which are aimed at addressing infant abandonment, provide parents the option to anonymously leave an infant with a medical professional or peace officer without fear of prosecution.

Capt. Bruce Hawk said the Loveland Symmes Fire Department will accept any infant.

“This could have benefited in that situation. It would’ve given the parents an opportunity, an alternative opportunity for that infant,” Hawk said.

All 50 U.S. states have some form of Safe Haven laws.

Ohio is one of 25 states where a parent can give an infant -- up to 30 days old -- to personnel at police or fire stations. The parent does not have to give their name, and they cannot be prosecuted for child abandonment.

Hawk said he has never dealt with any incidents related to the Safe Haven law, but he’s glad it’s there to protect those who can’t protect themselves.

“This allows us to be able to protect any infant who would be in a difficult situation, give someone an alternative option if they’re unable to care for the infant,” Hawk said.

The law is an option in every state, but the age of the child varies. Safe Haven locations in Ohio will accept an infant up to 30 days old; Indiana is 45 days old, and Kentucky is only three days old.

But Hawk said they’re willing to accept any babies if it means they’ll be safe.

“We’re not going to reject a child that appears to be over 30 days old,” Hawk said. “We’ll accept any child and contact the authorities, law enforcement or children safety services.”

Richardson is charged with aggravated murder, voluntary manslaughter, endangering children, tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse. She will appear in court Monday morning for arraignment. 

Click here for more information on Ohio’s Safe Haven law.