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.
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.
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