Warren Co. Prosecutor: Evidence shows 18-year-old purposefully caused death of infant
WATCH LIVE: Richardson appears in court
UPDATE: A grand jury has elected to indict Brooke "Skylar" Richardson for aggravated murder and other charges after they said there was evidence to show she purposely caused the death of her infant.
At a press conference with the Warren County Prosecutor's Office Friday, Prosecutor David P. Fornshell said the grand jury indicted her on the following charges in connection with that death:
- Aggravated murder: On or about May 6 through the 7, the defendant purposely caused the death of her newborn infant
- Involuntary manslaughter: the defendant caused the death of another during the commission of an underlying felony, which is a companion charge with child endangering
- Child endangering: the defendant recklessly caused a substantial risk of health or safety of the child by violating the duty of care, protection or support
- Tampering with evidence: from May 6 through the execution of the first search warrant on July 14, the defendant did alter, destroy, conceal or remove items with purpose to impair value or availability as evidence
- Abuse of corpse: the defendant, not being authorized by law, treated the human corpse in a way that would outrage reasonable community sensibilities
The general allegations against Richardson are that at some point during the night between May 6 and 7, she gave birth to a newborn infant at her home on Eagle Ridge Drive, caused the death of the infant, burned the infant and then buried it in the backyard of her residence, all within the span of a few hours. Fornshell said they may never know an exact medical cause of the death, due to the burning and "significant decomposition" of those remains.
Officials measured the bone length of the baby, and said their best estimate is that the child was full term, or between 38 and 40 weeks in gestation. The grand jury did determine there was enough evidence that the baby was born alive to indict her on the multiple charges.
Neighbors say they are in shock after details of case emerged.
"Everybody has visions in their head of what possibly could of happened, you know, and I never even went there," said Christy Orth who lives near the Richardson family.
She said the Richardson's always appeared to be the "perfect little family," and Fornshell believes preserving that mystique is one of the key motives of the case.
"Skylar and her family, in particularly her mother, were pretty obsessed with external appearances, and how the things appeared to the outside world," Fornshell said, "In her mind this was something that is not going to be accepted."
Fornshell said the hardest thing for him to deal with in the case is that she got through the pregnancy and gave birth before purposefully causing the death of the child.
"The only thing left to do at that point if you don't want the child is to drive it 5 minutes away to a police department or a fire station or a hospital and you can drop that baby off, no questions asked," he said, "and I can guarantee you there would be thousands of people in southwest Ohio that would take a newborn infant, no questions asked."
The case will not be charged as a death penalty case, according to Fornshell. He said he made the decision not to present it as a death penalty case to the grand jury, but it's still unclear on how much time she will face in prison depending on a possible conviction due to the different charges.
She is set to be arraigned Monday, and is in custody in the Warren County Jail.
WARREN COUNTY, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - An 18-year-old Carlisle teen has been indicted by a grand jury for aggravated murder and other charges in the case of baby remains found buried behind a home.
Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell announced the indictment of Brooke Skylar Richardson on his social media pages, a press conference is scheduled for 3:45 p.m., FOX 45 will steam that press conference live.
Investigators discovered the skeletal remains behind a house on Eagle Ridge Drive July 14, and later arrested Richardson. The 18-year-old appeared in court on July 21. According to a coroner's investigator, the baby whose remains were found was not stillborn. He told FOX 45 in a phone interview, "you have to have a life to cause a death."
Authorities said it was an anonymous tip that there were possibly skeletal remains at the home that led them to the scene.