Brooke Skylar Richardson was accused of murder after burying her stillborn baby in her backyard: She was eventually acquitted

Brooke Skylar Richardson interviewed by CBS News
Brooke Skylar Richardson was found not guilty of murdering her baby. Pic credit: CBS News YouTube

In May 2017, Brooke Skylar Richardson, known as Skylar, from Carlisle, Ohio, gave birth to a baby in the upstairs bathroom of her family home. She had kept her pregnancy a secret.

She later said that the baby was stillborn and that she buried the remains in her backyard. Skylar was just 18-years-old at the time. The father was not her current boyfriend, but someone with whom she’d previously had a fling.

Her situation only came to light when she visited her gynecologist two months later and was forced to admit what had happened to the baby. The Warren County sheriff promptly arrested her.

She faced charges of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, child endangerment, and abuse of a corpse.

Her family and friends claimed they hadn’t realized Skylar was pregnant. The cheerleader had suffered from eating disorders for numerous years that had left her very skinny. When she started to put on weight, her parents were actually pleased because she looked healthier.

Prosecutors would later argue that she had murdered her baby and burned the body in the backyard. During a police interview early on in the investigation, she had confessed to burning the baby’s remains; however, she later claimed this was coerced from her.

The prosecution further argued a motive for the killing; they suggested that Skylar and her family were obsessed about outward appearances and that motherhood just didn’t fit with the young woman’s lifestyle.

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Brooke Skylar Richardson was found not guilty

After a highly publicized court case in September 2018, she was found not guilty of murder or manslaughter. However, she was convicted of gross abuse of a corpse. She was given time served and placed on probation.

In an interview with Cosmopolitan after the trial, Skylar spoke of how the ordeal nearly destroyed her and left her feeling suicidal. She said on many occasions she wished she’d died instead of her daughter.

The family endured very high levels of abuse and condemnation, both online and at their home. The media printed many negative and false headlines, and her family received death threats.

Skylar’s mom, Kim Richardson, described the experience as “the worst nightmare, purgatory every day. We’re followed, stalked, harassed. Facebook, to me, turned into Hatebook.”

Skylar decided to name the baby Annabelle and her remains were returned to the Richardson family. Annabelle has since been interred at a graveyard.

More from 48 Hours on ID

Follow the links to read about more murders profiled on 48 Hours on ID.

On Thursday, July 15, 1976, 26 children and their school bus driver were kidnapped and buried alive in an underground quarry in California. The kidnappers had hoped to extort $5 million from parents and the state.

Howard Pilmar was a wealthy Manhattan entrepreneur with several businesses when his wife and brother-in-law stabbed him 40 times in his office. Roslyn Pilmar and Evan Wald managed to hide their barbaric crime from the cops for 20-years.

48 Hours on ID airs Thursdays at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.

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Erin Moriarty
Erin Moriarty
3 years ago

You make it clear that there was no evidence-none- that Skylar Richardson burned her baby. The District Attorney argued that even though his so-called expert admitted she had made a mistake.

3 years ago

Brooke killed her child and gets 3 years probation? I can’t imagine what the jury was thinking. Shame on them! As for Brooke’s parents? They’re just as bad as their daughter.. They’re nothing but losers.

3 years ago

Brooke Skylar Richardson seems to have gotten away with murder or manslaughter. The jury’s “not guilty” decision is NOT the same as “innocent”. It’s understandable why they could not conclusively convict her of murder because there was technically no physical proof that she killed the newborn. Though it’s a different story circumstantially. As the judge and others who’ve reviewed all the evidence conclude, it’s likely that Richardson killed her daughter by either smothering her or choosing not to clear her airway.

Richardson’s secrecy, texts, and actions all indicate that she resented the changes to her body and lifestyle as a result of an unwanted pregnancy. Hours after burying the newborn in the backyard, she was texting her mom about never wanting to be fat “like that” again…she seemed relieved to be rid of the pregnancy and subsequent baby. The texts expressed happiness at getting back her thin physique; she even snapped a side pic of her deflated abdomen while posing in front of a gym’s bathroom mirror. Her actions before, during, and after the birth are quite telling of a “disregard for the life”, as the judge stated at sentencing for the ‘gross abuse of a corpse’ felony.

Once they fully knew about Richardson’s secrecy, attitude, and related actions, the devastated bio father and his family had an understandably difficult time believing that the baby just happened to be stillborn. Richardson’s questionable decisions and actions seem to be more indicative of a narcissistic personality disorder than of an eating disorder, as her parents have claimed. Most young women with eating disorders are NOT going to use their diagnosis as an excuse to disregard an unexpected pregnancy and a newborn’s precious life.

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