It was a crime that shocked the country. In July 2017, police received a tip that a Carlisle, Ohio cheerleader and recent high school graduate may have delivered a stillborn baby. They searched the family’s property, and found the charred remains of a newborn baby girl in the backyard of the home where Brooke Skylar Richardson lived. Richardson, 18, was arrested and charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, child endangerment, tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse. The arrest rocked the tight-knit community. How could the pretty, popular cheerleader, who was heading to college in the fall, commit such a horrible crime?
Investigators now believe that it was Richardson’s quest for perfection that led her to conceal her pregnancy, kill and dismember her newborn baby, and then burn and bury the body in her backyard. Classmates said she always looked so put-together. “Her makeup had to be so-so. Her clothes had to be so-so, her hair had to be perfect.” Prosecutors contend that Richardson and her mother were “obsessed with appearances”. That fixation on perfection, say prosecutors, was the motive behind the murder. But friends and family say there is no way Richardson could have done what she’s been accused of doing.