Things That Matter

Brooke Skylar Richardson, The Former High School Cheerleader From Ohio Who Buried Her Newborn, Has Been Acquitted

Brooke Skylar Richardson was charged with killing her newborn daughter and burying her in the backyard of her parent’s home. The 20-year-old from Ohio was found not guilty of aggravated murder and involuntary manslaughter. 

Richardson was, however, convicted for abuse of a corpse and sentenced to three years probation. After completing the three years she could potentially have the conviction expunged from her record. 

The unsettling story about the Ohio cheerleader, who according to prosecutors, executed her baby and covered it up as not to “ruin her perfect life,” gripped the media, garnering national attention in 2017. 

Brooke Skylar Richardson is accused of burning her baby alive. 

According to the Daily Beast, Richardson discovered she was pregnant in April 2017 while visiting the gynecologist to receive birth control for the first time. The 18-year-old kept the news that she was 32 weeks pregnant a secret. On her senior prom night, Richardson gave birth in the family bathroom. 

This is where dueling narratives occur. Richardson says her child was a stillbirth. Horrified, she dug a shallow grave in her backyard and buried the daughter she named Annabelle. The prosecutors claimed Richardson killed her baby, burned her body and then buried her because she didn’t want to give up her perfect life. 

“Assistant prosecutor Steven Knippen said in court that days after the baby’s death Richardson sent two text messages bragging about her [thinner] appearance,” according to NBC News.

However, the death only came to law enforcement’s attention because of Richardson’s own confession. When her gynecologist pressed her about the pregnancy, she told him about the stillbirth. The doctor reported her to the police for possible child abuse. 

“My biggest regret is not having the strength to tell someone that I was pregnant. I wish I would have done it differently,” Richardson told Cosmopolitan. “I’m plagued by guilt every day for not telling someone.”

Richardson claims the police coerced a confession out of her.

According to Richardson’s defense team, police questioned her for hours until she confessed to trying to cremate the remains of her baby.

Richardson would spend the next couple of years enduring a grueling trial where she endured bullying and harassment from members of her community that labeled her a “baby killer.” 

Despite a seemingly national smear campaign, a jury of seven women and five men found her not guilty after an eight-day trial in September. They found there was no evidence she burned her baby.

However, prosecutors remain certain that Richardson murdered Annabelle. They believe she has a personality disorder because she was sexually abused when she was 12 and that during her police interview, Richardson claimed she heard the baby making sounds and burned it with a lighter. 

“I understand why the jury did what they did. I get it. But, I do believe she killed her child. As I sit here today, I believe it. I understand there are proof issues,” prosecutor David Fornshell told Local 12. “The fact that she meets 15 out of the 15 criteria for neonaticide to just walk away, you know what, we’re not going to try. That’s not who we are.”

Richardson speaks out for the first time since being acquitted. 

Cosmopolitan published an interview with Richardson, where she spoke out about the ordeal for the first time. 

“I spent a lot of my time depressed,” Richardson said of the past two years. “Every night, I would lie down and wish that I could have died in place of Annabelle.”

When news spread about the criminal charges, most of Richardson’s friends abandoned her. Her community turned on her, many of whom would leak information to the press by snapping photos of her in her home. Others devoted Facebook groups to the trial where they would share conspiracy theories and say things like “burn Skylar alive.” 

“It was so hard to live knowing the truth but to have the whole world think otherwise,” she said. “The people out there who hate me so much and wish horrible things upon me also do not know me.”

Richardson deactivated social media and took up new hobbies like reading, cooking knitting, and doing her makeup every day even if she scarcely left the house. In the end, she kept at least one good friend.

“These things just happen—babies are stillborn— women shouldn’t be blamed for that,” Ashley, an old friend from middle school told Cosmopolitan. “It’s sickening what they have done to her. I just try to keep it as normal as possible and be there for her as a friend.” Another longtime friend says Skylar told her that she “misses her baby.”

Richardson told Cosmo that she didn’t take a plea deal, which reduced her charges from a life sentence to 15 years because she knew she wasn’t guilty. 

“I knew in my heart of hearts that I was innocent,” she said. In the end, a jury of her peers agreed. 

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North Carolina Spanish Teacher Dies In Shootout With Mexican Cartel

Things That Matter

North Carolina Spanish Teacher Dies In Shootout With Mexican Cartel

A beloved Spanish teacher at a North Carolina school was killed in a shootout with a Mexican cartel. The Spanish teacher and coach was popular among students, faculty, and staff and lived by the motto “All Love…No Fear.”

Coach Barney Harris was beloved at the Union Academy Charter School.

Harris’ death stunned the community and the school’s social media lit up with memorials and remembrances of the teacher. Students responded with notes honoring the coach. Yet, the varsity basketball and track coach for the Charlotte-area charter school was hiding a secret that quickly came to light shortly after his death.

As students, faculty, and staff expressed sorrow for his sudden death, details emerged that changed the narrative. Turns out that Harris was killed in a gunfight with a Mexican cartel. Authorities in North Carolina revealed that Harris’ body was found in a mobile home in Alamance County, where he allegedly met with drug runner Alonso Beltran Lara.

The details of Harris’ death have shocked more than his community.

The school’s social media pages quickly deleted tribute posts to the Spanish teacher when the details were revealed. Authorities were cautious with releasing the information to make sure that the facts were verified.

“I can tell you this right now. When we are dealing with the Mexican drug cartel, somebody’s probably going to die as a result of this right here, somewhere else. And we did not want to put it out there until we could get a good grip of what’s going on here,” Sheriff Terry Johnson told WCNC.

According to authorities, it is believed that Harris, along with his brother-in-law, killed a drug runner for the cartel and a gunfight ensued. Harris was killed during the shootout.

According to authorities, the two interstates, Interstate 85 and Interstate 40, have created a well-used corridor for moving money and drugs for the cartels.

Authorities seized five firearms, about $7,000 in cash, and 1.2 kilograms of suspected cocaine from the scene. No other people in the mobile home park were injured.

READ: It’s No Surprise El Chapo’s Wife Is In Jail, Her TikTok Was A Look Inside #CartelLife

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Ecuadorian Sisters, 3 And 5, Dropped By Smugglers From 14 Ft High Mexico-US Border Wall

Things That Matter

Ecuadorian Sisters, 3 And 5, Dropped By Smugglers From 14 Ft High Mexico-US Border Wall

A recent video shared by a border patrol agent highlighted a shocking moment of smugglers literally dropping two little girls over a 14-foot high fence in the New Mexico desert. Right in the dead of night.

In the disturbing video, the smugglers can be seen climbing the fence and then dropping the two 5-year-old and 3-year-old sisters to the ground.

El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez shared that the incident occurred “miles from the nearest residence.”

The two little girls (Yareli, 3, and Yasmina, 5) were rescued after agents spotted them during a virtual surveillance sweep. The two sisters are from Ecuador and were dumped by human smugglers at the border wall according to an official.

“[US Immigration officials] need to verify the identity of the parents and confirm they are the parents and make sure they are in good condition to receive the girls,” Magdalena Nunez, of the Consulate of Ecuador in Houston, explained to The New York Post on Thursday. “It’s a process … We’re working to make sure it’s an expedited process and the girls spend as minimal time as possible separated from their parents.”

“Hopefully it can happen soon, in a week or two, but  it can take up to six weeks. We are working to make sure sure it happens as quickly as possible,” she explained before noting that the two sisters are “doing very well.”

“We have been in contact with them and confirmed they are in good health,” Nunez shared. “Physically, they are perfect — emotionally, obviously, they went through a hard time, but I guarantee you right now they are in good health and they are conversing. They are very alert, very intelligent.”

In a statement about the incident, the Ecuadorian consulate confirmed that the two girls had been in touch with their parents, who live in New York City.

“The Ecuadorian Consulate in Houston had a dialogue with the minors and found that they are in good health and that they contacted their parents, who currently live in New York City,” explained the consulate.

In a statement from the girls’ parents sent to Telemundo, the girls’ parents had left their daughters behind at their home in Jaboncillo, Ecuador, to travel to the US. The parents of the two girls have been identified as Yolanda Macas Tene and Diego Vacacela Aguilar. According to the New York Post, “The girls’ grandparents have asked President Biden to reunite the children with their parents. Aguilar paid a human smuggler to take his kids to the border — though the grandparents didn’t know how much they paid.”

“[The parents] wanted to be with them, their mother suffered a lot, for that reason they decided to take them,” paternal grandfather Lauro Vacacela explained in an interview with Univision.

It is still uncertain as to whether or not the girls’ parents are in the country legally.

Photos of the girls showed them having snacks with Agent Gloria Chavez.

“When I visited with these little girls, they were so loving and so talkative, some of them were asking the names of all the agents that were there around them, and they even said they were a little hungry,” Chavez told Fox News. “So I helped them peel a banana and open a juice box and just talked to them. You know, children are just so resilient and I’m so grateful that they’re not severely injured or [have] broken limbs or anything like that.”

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