Brooke Skylar Richardson's baby was a girl, prosecutor says

Brooke Skylar Richardson's baby was a girl, prosecutor says
Posted at 10:32 AM, Aug 10, 2017

LEBANON, Ohio -- The baby who was burned and found buried in a Carlisle backyard was a girl, investigators determined.

Brooke Skylar Richardson's baby at the center of a murder trial will be named "Baby Jane Doe," Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said in a tweet Thursday.

"Testing has confirmed the child was a girl," Fornshell said.

Richardson, 18, is accused of killing her newborn baby, burning the body and burying the remains in her backyard all within hours of the baby's birth. In addition to murder, she's charged with involuntary manslaughter, endangering children, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse.

Initially, investigators couldn't confirm the sex of the baby due to burning and decomposition, Fornshell said.

Fornshell said Richardson gave birth two days after the Carlisle High School prom, sometime late May 6 or early May 7.

The baby was born, died, was burned and buried "all within a few hours," Fornshell said. He said the baby was born at about 38 weeks to 40 weeks — full term. After charging Richardson with reckless homicide, Fornshell said the baby was born alive.

Carlisle police were notified July 14 by an OB-GYN that a stillborn baby may have been born to a teenager in town. Police found the baby's remains that night.

In a news conference after charging Richardson with aggravated murder, Fornshell would not say how long the baby was alive before it was killed, nor how the baby died. “We may never know the medical cause of the baby’s death,” he said.

Richardson pleaded not guilty to the charges Monday.

“I can tell you Brooke Skylar Richardson did not kill her baby,” defense attorney Charles Rittger said. 

Rittger said the defense plans to have its own experts examine the baby's remains.

Rittgers has repeatedly characterized Richardson as a "good girl" who volunteered, was a member of the cheer squad and track team, and has never been in trouble with the law or otherwise. Richardson graduated from Carlisle High School in May and her attorney said she planned to attend the University of Cincinnati in the fall.

Fornshell said he believes the motive may have been related to an obsession with "appearances and how things appear to the outside world." Fornshell said Richardson and her mother would not have wanted the community to know she was pregnant and had a baby.