5 Things to Know: Ohio Teen Accused of Killing Her Newborn and Burying the Body Behind Parents' Home
An 18-year-old Ohio woman is facing a charge of reckless homicide after allegedly killing her newborn baby and burying the child in a shallow grave
An 18-year-old woman — and new high school graduate — is facing a charge of reckless homicide in Ohio, where authorities claim she killed her newborn baby and then buried the child in a shallow grave behind her parent’s house.
Brooke Richardson of Carlisle was detained on Thursday.
Here are five things to know about her case:
1. Baby’s Remains Found After Tip from Doctor’s Office
Carlisle police have so far released little information about their investigation but said they learned an infant had been buried in the backyard of Richardson’s parents’ home through a tip that originated from a doctor’s office.
Police searched the property on Wednesday, where they discovered the child’s body in a shallow grave.
It remains unclear just what the tip was or who made the call to police.
Authorities initially believed the baby had been stillborn, but further investigation showed that the baby was alive at birth, David Fornshell, the prosecutor in Ohio’s Warren County, tells PEOPLE.
2. Suspect Pleaded Not Guilty
Richardson appeared in Ohio’s Franklin Municipal Court on Friday, alongside her parents and her attorney, for her arraignment before Judge Rupert Ruppert, PEOPLE learns from court officials.
Richardson pleaded not guilty to her charge and has posted $15,000 bond for her release. She is due to return to court for a preliminary hearing on Aug 1.
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Detectives say that their investigation into the baby’s death remains active and, if convicted of the reckless homicide charge, Richardson could be sentenced to up to five years in prison.
3. Details of the Birth Remain Unclear
Speaking to reporters after Richardson’s arraignment on Friday, her attorney, Charlie Rittgers, reportedly declined to address questions about her pregnancy. Other details about her child have also not been released.
Police alleged in court documents that Richardson “recklessly” caused “the death of another” and said they believe her baby was born sometime around May 7 — meaning the child had been buried between 10 and 12 weeks before being found.
4. Richardson Arrested Following a Second Search
After their initial search for the child, investigators returned to the Richardson home on July 20 to look for additional evidence. Soil samples were taken from the property and detectives said they recovered evidence from around a fire pit.
When police left the residence, they brought Richardson with them.
A formal criminal complaint was filed against her the following day.
5. Richardson ‘Shocked’ by Allegations: Attorney
According to her attorney, Richardson was a cheerleader at Carlisle High School, where she had excelled as a student and graduated in May.
“I can tell you that Skylar was a very good student,” Rittgers told reporters on Friday, referring to Richardson by her middle name, according to local TV station WRGT. “She didn’t drink. She wasn’t a partier or a smoker.”
Rittgers, who PEOPLE could not reach for comment, described his client as “by all measures a very good girl who helped children … by all means a very good person.”
“It’s shocked her,” he said. “It’s a tragic situation.”
Rittgers also said that Richardson had worked at a cheer camp for kids with disabilities. She was planning on attending the University of Cincinnati in the fall, he said.
PEOPLE could not reach Richardson for comment.