In 2017, Brooke Skylar Richardson buried her stillborn. Now, she's won a bid to have her conviction erased.


Warning: This article deals with sensitive content and may be distressing for some readers. 

In 2017, Brooke Skylar Richardson, then 18 years old, went to her gynaecologist to ask for birth control. Looking at her records, the doctor, Casey Boyce, noticed the teenager had been pregnant less than three months prior.

When asked why she wasn’t still pregnant, the former high school cheerleader cried, telling Dr Boyce she had recently given birth to a stillborn baby.

Richardson shared with the doctor that no one knew she was pregnant and, after giving birth, she buried the stillborn’s remains in her family’s backyard in Carlisle, America. She named her baby “Annabelle”.

Dr Boyce was concerned and called the police who later discovered the infant’s buried body.

What has since been revealed is on May 7, 2017, the former cheerleader gave birth on the bathroom floor in her family home. It was two days after her high school prom.

Days after attending her high school prom, Brooke Skylar Richardson says she gave birth to a stillborn baby. Image: Facebook.


The baby's remains were discovered by detectives on July 17, 2017, and just over a week later, Richardson was arrested and charged with reckless homicide. Police believe Brooke Skylar Richardson murdered her baby. However, Richardson insists the baby was not alive when she gave birth.

Two years later, Richardson faced court and was charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, endangering children, tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse.

"The state expects the evidence to show that on May 7th of 2017, Brooke gave birth to her daughter in her house in the middle of the night. Upon realising that she was going into labour, she still told no one," Assistant Prosecutor Julie Kraft said during court in September, 2019.

"She did not tell her parents, who were asleep downstairs, or her brother who was across the hall."

She continued: "Brooke took her own daughter’s life, destroyed all evidence of her birth and buried her in the backyard."


The defence team, however, maintained that the baby was stillborn. A frightened teenager, the defence argued that Richardson was too worried to tell her family about the baby and hence buried the stillborn's remains.

According to local news outlet Journal-News, the prosecution claimed that Richardson searched via Google "how to get rid of a baby". The court also heard that Richardson sent a text to her mother just hours after the alleged murder took place, which read: "I am literally speechless with how happy I am my belly is back OMG".


However, Richardson's defence team, including Charles M. Rittgers, stated she suffered from an eating disorder and her weight regularly fluctuated, which meant she often messaged her mother about changes to her body.

Richardson pleaded not guilty to all her charges.

On September 12, 2019, after deliberating for 4 hours and 25 minutes, the jury found Richardson not guilty of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, and child endangerment.

She was found guilty of only one charge: gross abuse of a corpse.

When the verdict was announced, Richardson burst into tears while her mother said, "We love you so much. We love you, baby."

Now Richardson – who served just 14 months of her three-year probation – has won a bid to stop the general public viewing records of the court case.

The ruling means everything - including her conviction - will no longer exist in the criminal justice system.

Law enforcement will still be able to see the case if Richardson is ever charged again with a criminal offence.

If this has raised any issues for you or if you would like to speak with someone, please contact the Sands Australia 24 hour support line on 1300 072 637. 

This article was published on September 13, 2019 and has since been updated with new information.

Feature Image: Facebook/Twitter.