HAUNTING pictures of the tiny grave belonging to cheerleader Brooke Skylar Richardson’s baby were revealed after she was cleared of murder.
Covered in pink flowers and teddy bears, Annabelle was finally laid to rest by Richardson’s family yesterday in Ohio, US.
Annabelle was buried by the Richardson family yesterday in Ohio, US[/caption]
Richardson walked free from court earlier this month[/caption]
Richardson was cleared of murdering the baby after she denied smashing in the infant’s skull after giving birth in secret.
She was allegedly ‘tempted’ to take a 15-year prison term plea deal for burying the baby but decided at the last minute not to.
Instead she fought her way through the trial, which resulted in an acquittal, say her parents.
Now 20, she was just a teenager when she gave birth in her bathroom and buried the newborn in her garden on 7 May 2017.
It was just a few days after her senior prom and weeks before she was set to start college.
Her parents and friends have said she hid the pregnancy from them.
In an interview with CBS, mum Kim spoke of her shock at finding out her daughter had given birth in secret.
“I couldn’t feel my body. I could not get up,” Kim said.
“How could that happen? I’ve seen her every day. I look at her. I talk to her. I hug her.”
“I don’t know when it hit me but I was a grandmother and I never had any of the benefits of it.”
The court heard that in 2017 Brooke gave birth to a stillborn baby, who she named Annabelle and then buried in the garden of her parents’ home.
The medic reported the incident to police who soon located the child’s remains around two months after she gave birth.
Brooke’s mum described the last two years as “the worst nightmare” – in part due to the global attention the case attracted.
She said: “We’re followed, stalked, harassed. Everyone wanted to know what was happening in our backyard.
“Facebook, to me, turned into Hatebook.”
Brooke was later charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and child endangering and pleaded not guilty.
But she walked free from court earlier this month after being cleared of the most serious charges.
Brooke was found guilty of gross abuse of a corpse – but she was credited for time already served.
She will instead serve three years of probation – but if she violates this, she can be locked up for up to a year in jail.
Her parents have repeatedly protested her innocence.
Brooke’s dad Scott said: “There’s no way she would ever hurt anyone.”
Her mum added: “There’s no way. I would stake my life on it.”
During her sentencing hearing, Brooke made a grovelling apology to the baby’s dad.
She said: “I am sorry. I can sometimes be selfish, but I’m getting better. I’m forever sorry.
“I’ve hurt a lot of people. I am really, really sorry. And I understand,” she added.
The mother of Brooke’s former boyfriend Trey Johnson — the baby’s dad — read an emotional statement in court.
“Not only did I lose my first grandchild, but my baby boy lost his daughter,” the mum said.
“For a baby that she called ‘it,’ we’re just as much the family as she is.
“I’ve watched my son become a different person,” she continued.
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“I won’t disclose his medical diagnosis because she’s done enough to him. I can personally tell you that I’ve personally been seen for depression, panic attacks, and I’m a shell of the person I was.”
Trey’s mother added: “I would have taken her in with Trey without a question. Now, instead, every May 7, I don’t get to have a birthday party for my first grandchild.
“Instead, I send her balloons to heaven, to tell her how much her daddy loved her, and how much I loved her.”
The bones of the tiny newborn[/caption]
The baby’s body was found in the back garden of her Ohio home[/caption]