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Warren County buried baby case: 7 things we know now

Here are seven things we have learned in the investigation of Brooke Skylar Richardson, the 18-year-old woman whose baby’s remains were found buried in the backyard of her home July 14.

Richardson, a cheerleader who graduated this year from Carlisle High School, faces one count of reckless homicide.

1. Coroner can’t determine sex of baby. Warren County Coroner Dr. Russell Uptegrove said Wednesday that his office was not able to determine the sex of the infant from the remains, which are two months old. The criminal complaint against Richards alleges she caused the infant’s death on or about May 7.

“We may eventually do DNA testing, but we could not determine that (the sex) from the remains,” Uptegrove said.

FULL STORY: Coroner can’t determine sex of buried baby; hearing delayed

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The sex of the baby has not been released by deputies or the prosecutor.

2. Three searches conducted at home. Investigators have conducted three separate searches in a 10-day period this month, working initially in the backyard to find the infant’s remains July 14, returning to dig for more evidence and coming back Monday evening to look inside the house.

MORE: Investigators search 3 times in 10 days in Carlisle baby remains case

Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said Tuesday that the three searches are part of the ongoing investigation involving the mother and anyone else involved in the baby’s death.

“This is an ongoing investigation. We are investigating what happened and who may have been involved,” Fornshell said, adding if that investigation led other others involved, they would be charged.

Sheriff’s and prosecutors office officials also have said they requested a judge seal search warrants pertaining to the case in order to avoid tipping off what they were looking for.

MORE: Carlisle baby alive at birth, prosecutor says after teen mom in court

3. Baby alive at birth. The infant died more than two months ago but was alive at birth, not stillborn, court records and prosecutors revealed July 21.

Fornshell said, “In response to various media and public inquiries regarding the Brooke Skylar Richardson case, the … preliminary charge of reckless homicide is based upon evidence that the infant whose remains were discovered at the defendant’s residence in Carlisle one week ago today was born alive and was not a stillborn baby,”

4. Active investigation. “Law enforcement is continuing to treat this as an active and ongoing investigation,” Fornshell said. After Richardson’s arraignment hearing, Warren County Sheriff’s Lt. John Faine said investigators are awaiting the final report from the Warren County Coroner’s Office.

MORE: Carlisle mom, 18, arrested, charged in Warren County baby-remains case

5. Arrest came after second search. Richardson was arrested shortly after investigators from the sheriff’s and coroner’s offices returned to Richardson’s home on July 20 for more soil samples and other evidence around a fire pit. She was taken to the Warren County Jail but was later released on bond.

At her arraignment hearing July 21 in Franklin Municipal Court, her $15,000 bond was continued. A plea of not guilty was entered for her. If convicted of the reckless homicide charge, Richardson faces one to five years in prison.

Attorney Charlie M. Rittgers requested a continuance Tuesday, July 25, and it was granted by Judge Rupert Ruppert. The preliminary hearing was postponed to Aug. 8.

MORE: Professor on baby death: Hard to know how common it is

The court document obtained by this news outlet does not give a reason for the request by the defense. Rittgers did, however, give a brief statement via email on WednesdayJuly 26.

“We agreed to a continuance because we think it is in the best interest of Skylar,” Rittgers said.

6. Cheerleader a ‘very good person.’ Rittgers spoke to the media outside of the Franklin Municipal Building and referred to Richardson by her middle name Skylar. He said Richardson is a good student who just graduated from high school a few months ago and is planning to go to college at the University of Cincinnati this fall.

PREVIOUS REPORT: Anthropologist examining remains of baby found in Carlisle yard

”She didn’t drink. She wasn’t a partier or a smoker. By all measures a very good girl who helped children… She’s by all means a very good person,” Rittgers said as he described Richardson.

He said she helped kids with disabilities at a cheer camp and worked at the YMCA with children.

FIRST REPORT: Remains found behind home in Carlisle believed to be stillborn baby

7. Doctor’s office gave tip. The case became public July 14 when investigators, acting on a tip from a doctor’s office that a Carlisle teenager may have delivered a stillborn infant. Investigators later found an infant’s remains buried in the backyard at Richardson’s residence in the 100 block of Eagle Ridge Drive.

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