CARLISLE, OH (FOX19 NOW) - 18-year-old Brooke "Skylar" Richardson gave birth to a full-term baby in May. Just a few hours later, that infant was killed, burned and buried in Richardson's backyard, Warren County Prosecutor Dave Fornshell says.
The cheerleader from a family "obsessed" with outward appearances was indicted Friday on charges including aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence. The charges come after investigators discovered the charred, decomposing remains of the baby on July 14.
Authorities may never know the child's exact cause of death due to the significant decomposition of the remains between the birth and when officials dug up the infant bones two months later, Fornshell said.
The prosecutor says Richardson delivered her baby less than 48 hours after attending her senior prom on May 5. She then "purposely" caused its death, officials allege.
Investigators believe the baby was only alive for a few hours.
Investigators started digging in the backyard of the Eagle Ridge Drive home after Richardson's doctor alerted police of a suspicious situation. The coroner determined the baby had been born alive, but was not able to determine the sex because of the condition of the remains.
A baby wasn't an "acceptable outcome" for a college-bound girl living with intense family pressure to maintain her image, Fornshell described.
"I think the evidence supports that Skylar and her family, particularly her mother, were pretty obsessed with external appearances and how she appeared to the outside world," Fornshell said when asked about a motive.
The mother perpetuated a "good girl" image for her daughter, the prosecutor said.
"They always, always look put together, they're not a family you see running around in sweatpants," said neighbor Christy Orth, who's lived across the street from the Richardson home for the last 12 years.
"That the baby was burned, I can't believe anybody in that household would do that." she said
He declined to elaborate whether Richardson's mom knew about alleged plot to kill the baby, but said the mother and daughter shared a "particular dynamic" that will be revealed in the trial.
Richardson apparently tried to hide her pregnancy, but Fornshell described a strong suspicion among some community members.
"She's 38 to 40 weeks pregnant at the prom, which is two days before this happens, wearing, you know, fairly tight attire. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to recognize that she might be pregnant," Fornshell said.
Kasey Isaacs and Sam Jeffries live across the street and are expecting their first child. Kasey's sister was a classmate of Skylar's at Carlisle High School, and saw the pictures of Skylar at prom.
[endif]"Her belly's very visible, very noticeable, and her schoolmates were talking about it and messaging me on Facebook," said Isaacs.
Richardson's attorney described her as a good girl who worked at the YMCA with children with special needs.
Police arrested Richardson on Friday.
Her arraignment is scheduled on Monday, Aug. 7.
She was set to attend University of Cincinnati in the fall.
Fornshell, who described himself as "extraordinarily pro-life," used the situation to remind the public about the safe haven law, which allows a parent to drop a child off at a police department, fire station or hospital.