Trigger: Mention of child death.
This past September, Brooke Skylar Richardson was acquitted of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment in the death of her newborn daughter. Instead, she was found guilty of one charge of gross abuse of a corpse, for which she'll only serve three years probation. The verdict was met with a lot of anger from the public, as well as those close to the case.
But anger isn't the only thing on the minds of those who've followed this case. There are many questions that have been left unanswered despite the extensive trial that took place just this year. For those hoping to understand how and why Richardson did what she did, she's finally opening up just months after the conclusion of her trial.
In an exclusive interview with Cosmopolitan, Richardson revealed that her troubles began on April 26th, 2017, when her mother took her to her first gynecologist appointment. She had had irregular periods for years, and her mother also wanted her to go on birth control because she knew Richardson was sexually active with her then-boyfriend. But it was at that appointment when the then-high school senior learned that she was 32 weeks pregnant- and had absolutely no idea beforehand. Despite the urging from her doctor, the teen decided against telling her mother- or anyone else, for that matter.
"My biggest regret is not having the strength to tell someone that I was pregnant. I wish I would have done it differently. I’m plagued by guilt every day for not telling someone," Richardson explained.
On May 5th of that year, Richardson attended her prom with a bright smile on her face. She had something of a baby bump, but no one thought that it was exactly that. Family and friends both thought that she'd simply put on weight- which was a welcoming sight, as the teen had suffered from several eating disorders since sixth grade. She'd decided to tell people that she was pregnant after prom ended, but that didn't go to plan.
The very next day, Richardson explained that she felt intense cramps all day long. It was only by the time night fell that she made her way into the bathroom because she felt "that something needed to come out". That's when according to Richardson, baby Annabelle was born dead. The teen had experienced a stillbirth- a claim that she's made since day one. She hastily buried the newborn in a shallow grave in her own backyard.
It wasn't until an appointment with another doctor to get birth control that Richardson finally told someone what had happened. That doctor was legally obligated to tell the police, who interviewed her shortly after. She kept telling them repeatedly that she didn't kill her baby, but police would later not believe her. That eventually led to her being arrested and charged with the aforementioned felonies, which subsequently led to a trial and then the shocking verdict.
Since everything has happened, Richardson has done everything possible to try and rebuild her life. She works for the same lawyers that once represented her in court, and has signed up for paralegal classes at her local community college near her hometown of Carlisle, Ohio. Her ultimate dream is to become a lawyer for the Ohio Innocence Project. Outside of this and her other interests, she and her family visit Annabelle's new resting spot that's far from her home to pay her respects and leave pink flowers on her grave.
"It is such a relief to know that Annabelle is now in her final resting spot. I visit every week," Richardson concluded.