Former cheerleader accused of burying newborn pleads ‘not guilty’ to murder

College-bound former high school cheerleader, Brooke Skylar Richardson, made her first appearance in Warren County Common Pleas court just days after she was indicted for aggravated murder and four other felonies connected to the death of her newborn baby.

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Richardson pleaded not guilty to the charges during her arraignment Monday morning.

Her bond was set at $50,000.


A Carlisle, Ohio teenager has been indicted on aggravated murder and four other felony charges after prosecutors say she killed her newborn baby and then burned the child's body in her family's backyard just two days after her senior prom.

  • Brooke Skylar Richardson, 18, was taken into custody Friday afternoon
  • A Warren County grand jury indicted her on charges of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, endangering children, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse
  • Investigators say Richardson gave birth and killed the newborn sometime between May 6-7

County Prosecutor David Fornshell said at a news conference that despite the charge of aggravated murder Richardson would not face the death penalty if convicted. If convicted, aggravated murder could carry 20 years to life in prison or life in prison without parole.

Fornshell said that two days after the Carlisle High School prom, sometime between May 6 and May 7, Richardson gave birth to the newborn and caused the child’s death. She apparently burned the infant then buried the baby in her backyard, Fornshell said.

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According to Fornshell, everything occurred over a period of a few hours after the baby was born. He said the baby was born at about 38 weeks to 40 weeks — full term. Carlisle police were notified July 14 by Richardson's OB-GYN's office about a possible stillborn baby, Fornshell said.

"We may never know the medical cause of the baby's death," he said.

Fornshell declined to speculate on motive, but said it was a perception issue and the teen’s mother was concerned about appearances.

He said the evidence that has been obtained indicates that “this was something that would not be accepted.”

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Fornshell estimated that many people in Carlisle knew Richardson was pregnant at some point prior to the birth through social media.

The identity of the father and whether any others were involved in the child's death remains under investigation, Fornshell said. He said the search warrants will continue to be sealed in order to not reveal what was found and seized during searches at her home in the 100-block of Eagle Ridge Court.

“There are a lot of questions our office still has,” Fornshell said.

The prosecutor’s office believes it knows who the father is, but said DNA tests many be needed to determine the identity.

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