Teen’s text after allegedly killing baby
Hours after allegedly killing her newborn daughter and secretly burying the remains in her family's backyard, an Ohio woman texted her mum: "My belly is back OMG," prosecutors say.
Opening statements in the case of Brooke Skylar Richardson, now 20, began on Wednesday in a Warren County Court where she faces several charges, including aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, endangering a child, tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse in the 2017 death.
Assistant prosecutor Steven Knippen told the court about texts messages Ms Richardson allegedly sent to her mother hours after the child was buried, stating how she was "speechless" to have her body "back," according to a court reporter for Butler County's Journal-News.
"I am literally speechless with how happy I am my belly is back OMG …" the text read.
Prosecutors say Ms Richardson, a high school cheerleader, was informed by her doctor in April 2017 that she was pregnant and would be giving birth in a "matter of weeks," FOX19 reported.
The then-18-year-old became extremely upset and told her doctor she could not have the child and asked she not tell anyone.
Days later, on May 7, she gave birth in the middle of the night. The former cheerleader gave birth in the bathroom at her family home just a few days after her senior prom and weeks before she was set to start college.
Prosecutors say she killed the baby and buried it in the backyard by a barbecue pit, disposing of all evidence.
County prosecutor David Fornshell previously said Ms Richardson and her family had been worried about the community's reaction to her out-of-wedlock pregnancy.
"Skylar and her family, particularly her mother, were pretty obsessed with external appearances and how things appeared to the outside world," he said.
"You have a situation where, you know, she's a cute high school, recent high school graduate; she was a cheerleader described (as) a good girl by her lawyer as you heard after the arraignment."
Her parents and friends have said she hid the pregnancy from them.
When Ms Richardson returned to her doctor for birth control pills a few weeks after giving birth, she aroused suspicion.
She allegedly told the doctor she gave birth to a stillborn baby - who she named "Annabelle" - and buried it in the backyard at her parents' home in the village of Carlisle, just north of Cincinnati.
The physician reported the incident to police who soon located the child's remains.
Ms Richardson was confronted and eventually confessed to burying the child.
Prosecutors said on Wednesday that Ms Richardson's mother was obsessed with her appearance and constantly monitored her weight.
They said the doctor's office accidentally sent her an email about the woman's pregnancy.
Ms Richardson's defence team claims the child was stillborn and the woman reacted appropriately when she found out so late in the pregnancy that she was expecting. Her lawyer argued she suffered from eating disorders that affected her weight and menstrual cycle - making the clues harder to detect.
The defence said Ms Richardson named the child, buried her and placed flowers over the grave, according to the Journal-News court reporter.
Ms Richardson has been under house arrest for more than a year after a judge ordered a curfew of 9pm to 7am, random home visits and for her to be subject to GPS monitoring.
Opening statements on Wednesday were followed by testimony from three witnesses.
If convicted, Ms Richardson could face up to life in prison.
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