South Carolina woman Ariel Robinson appeared virtually at a Simpsonville court hearing Friday morning, where she learned she’ll remain in jail on homicide by child abuse charges.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Ariel Robinson, 29, and her husband, Jerry Robinson, 34, are both behind bars in connection with the death of 3-year-old Victoria Smith. On January 14, authorities found Victoria unresponsive at the couple’s Simpsonville home off of Sellwood Circle. The little girl later passed away at the Prisma Health Greenville Memorial Hospital.
An autopsy reported indicated that Victoria died from multiple injuries caused by blunt force trauma. She had deep purple bruising on her abdomen, face abrasions, bruising on her back and ears, and bruising down both legs.
Ariel Robinson previously posted on social media that she adopted Victoria and her two brothers in March. During the bond hearing, it was revealed that the couple was supposed to finalize the adoption on the day they were arrested.
An arrest warrant indicated that the couple doled out a “series of blunt force injuries” to the victim, causing her death. However, the defendants told different accounts of the incident.
Ariel Robinson, well-known for winning Season 20 of Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America,” claimed that Victoria vomited the night prior but had no other observable issues, NBC 4 reports.
Assistant Solicitor Christy Kednocker Sustakovitch spoke for the state and told the court details of what Ariel claimed happened.
The following morning, according to Ariel, Victoria ate pancakes, drank a lot of water, then complained of stomach pain and being cold. Ariel said she got the child a heated blanket, but Victoria “went limp.”
Ariel then performed the Heimlich maneuver on the child while her husband called 911.
First responders and doctors noted “extensive bruising’ on Victoria. Ariel reportedly said the bruises came from her doing CPR on the child, as directed by the 911 dispatcher.
When investigators pushed Ariel to explain the bruising more, she allegedly said that her minor son had “anger issues” and causes the bruising on Victoria.
Investigators went to the boy’s school and met with staff members who described him as a “happy, smaller child with no outward signs of physical abuse toward anyone.”
During a two-hour interview with investigators shortly after Victoria’s death, Jerry Robinson claimed that he had never harmed Victoria, although he admitted that his wife would “spank, beat [Victoria] with different things, including a belt, paddle, flip flop or whatever.”
Robinson also reportedly said that Ariel hit Victoria with a belt on the day the child passed away. Sustakovitch testified that Jerry Robinson heard the belt hit from outside, then went inside and told his wife, “You’ve gone too far.”
Jerry said they put Victoria in an Epsom salt bath while he then went to the store to buy medication. Prosecutors, according to Fox Carolina, confirmed that they obtained a store security video that showed Jerry Robinson purchasing the medicine.
After hearing Ariel Robinson’s attorney push for bond while stating his client wouldn’t be considered a flight risk, Judge Letitia Verdin decided that Ariel will be held without bond.
“Based on the seriousness of the charges and the egregious nature of the allegations, in this case, I do find the defendant, in this case, is a flight risk or does pose a substantial danger to the community, most particularly to the children who are in her custody, and potentially even to herself.”
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[Feature Photo: Ariel Robinson and Victoria Smith/Instagram]