The family of an 18-year-old Ohio woman who allegedly burned and buried her newborn child is speaking out about the harrowing ordeal.
As CrimeOnline reported in August, Brooke Skylar Richardson was indicted on charges of aggravated murder, gross abuse of a corpse, involuntary manslaughter, child endangerment, and tampering with evidence. The teen is accused of giving birth to a baby girl that she later burned and buried outside her parent’s Carlisle home in early May.
Now, the teen’s family is saying that Richardson’s baby girl was stillborn. In an exclusive interview with Cincinnati Magazine, several relatives maintained that Richardson was the only one who knew she was pregnant.
The family claimed that Richardson said she felt ashamed after delivering a stillborn baby at the family home. While they acknowledged that the 18-year-old inadequately disposed of the baby, they don’t believe her poor decision rises to the charge of murder.
“Skylar is a pleaser, and she was already blaming herself for the baby being stillborn,” the teen’s aunt, Vanessa, explained. “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.”
The family also rejected authorities’ claims that an autopsy showed the baby was born alive and that Richardson had dismembered and burned her body.
Relatives also question whether the newborn, supposedly born between May 6 and 7, was full-term. They stated that Richardson didn’t know she was pregnant until shortly before giving birth due to experiencing irregular menstrual cycles caused by an eating disorder.
They also pushed back against Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell’s assertion that Richardson killed her daughter to preserve her “good girl” image.
“This is 2017 in America. There is no stigma about unwed mothers, and it’s common these days,” Vanessa retorted. “There is so much love in our family. Skylar has so much support. We have a lot of young children in our family. This would not have been a problem.”
The family also accused the prosecutor of destroying the teen’s reputation by repeatedly discussing the case with reporters and on social media. The magazine reports that gag order was implemented to prevent the prosecution from speaking about the case and immediate family from disclosing details which could help prove Richardson’s innocence.
“All this publicity will hurt her. All our lives, we have been a family who have worked hard at our jobs and built stable lives,” the accused’s uncle, Jay, said. “We have solid reputations and now everyone just looks down at us.”
“It’s a game to them. They just want to win.”
Richardson is currently released on bond. The prosecution and defense will review discovery and witnesses during a September 27 hearing.
[Featured Image: Warren County Sheriff’s Office]