Noelani Robinson, the 2-year-old Wisconsin girl who was found dead in Minnesota days after her abduction, died of blunt force trauma to the head, authorities said this weekend.
A medical examiner who spoke during Saturday’s press conference revealed that Robinson’s preliminary cause and manner of death was homicide due to blunt force trauma to the head. Milwaukee police chief Alfonso Morales said an autopsy hasn’t been completed so they can’t confirm whether her father, Dariaz Higgins, 34, is responsible for his daughter’s death.
“That’s where the criminal investigation is shooting for. It’s just too early to tell. Obviously, we need the autopsy to assist us, the time of death and the venue. We believe we’re headed in that direction,” Morales said, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Morales said a public works employee was driving home in Steele County, Minnesota, when he noticed something on the side of the road and discovered Robinson’s body wrapped in a blanket. The police chief claimed preliminary evidence also suggests the toddler had been dead for more than a day before she was found Friday night.
Higgins is believed to have abducted the 2-year-old on Monday, after he fatally shot the toddler’s mother, Sierra Robinson, 24, and wounded a second woman in Milwaukee.
A criminal complaint obtained by WITI stated that Higgins was Sierra’s pimp and had trafficked her. The wounded woman reportedly told police that Sierra and Higgins had been “messing around” when Sierra became pregnant with Noelani. Higgins lived with Sierra and their daughter afterward, she said.
According to the complaint, Higgins agreed to meet with Sierra on Monday to give her their daughter. The woman said she accompanied Sierra to the ill-fated meeting but discovered Noelani wasn’t there. Instead, the trio “drove around, smoking weed, drinking, and talking about old times,” with the woman alleging that she noticed an AK-style rifle in Higgins’ car, the complaint also said.
Higgins and the two women ultimately drove to an apartment where Higgins reportedly claimed Noelani was. Sierra and her friend were walking ahead of Higgins when he allegedly opened fire on them. He ultimately got back into the vehicle and drove off, according to WITI.
Higgins was apprehended Wednesday in a Milwaukee hotel while a second person was jailed for harboring and aiding a fugitive. Authorities didn’t find any sign of Noelani at the time of their arrests.
Higgins hasn’t been charged for Noelani’s death. He’s currently charged with first-degree intentional homicide and use of a dangerous weapon in connection with Monday’s shooting. He’s also facing first-degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon for Noelani’s abduction.
Authorities accused Higgins of providing officers with false information concerning his daughter’s whereabouts. His bond was set at $1 million during an initial court appearance on Sunday.
Calling Higgins a “cold-blooded killer,” Morales said, “The search to find Noelani has become a game to him. It’s obvious that as a parent he truly doesn’t care about Noelani.”
Watch: Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales held a news conference Saturday morning regarding the Amber Alert of Noelani Robinson. Her body was found along a rural road in southern Minnesota. Latest: http://via.fox6now.com/sguVM
Posted by FOX6 News Milwaukee on Saturday, March 16, 2019
[Featured image: Sierra and Noelani Robinson/GoFundMe]