No charges yet in homicide of missing toddler Noelani Robinson

March 19, 2019 01:31 PM

It was a nationwide Amber Alert with an awful end in Minnesota.

Two-year-old Noelani Robinson was found dead Friday night in a ditch near Blooming Prairie, in rural Steele County. Investigators said the autopsy showed she suffered blunt force trauma to the head, and her death was ruled a homicide. 

Authorities in Steele County, along with agents from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, FBI, Mower County Sheriff's Department, Austin Police Department and the Milwaukee Police Department are working together, given there are crime scenes in two states.

On Sunday, Dariaz Higgins, Noelani's dad, was charged with killing her mother, 24-year-old Sierra Robinson. Higgins and Robinson had a history, he used to be her pimp. He appeared in court Sunday on charges including first-degree intentional homicide and wounding another woman, last week. Bail was set at $1 million.


$1M bail set for man charged with killing missing girl's mom

Authorities confirm 2-year-old found dead in Steele County

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said investigators are piecing together Higgins' whereabouts after Robinson's murder and Noelani's abduction. That includes retrieving surveillance video from a hotel in Austin, where it's believed Higgins stayed at one point with his daughter, who was still alive at the time.

A passerby noticed a bright blanket in a snowy ditch Friday evening near highways 218 and 30 and thought it was unusual enough, leading him to call Blooming Prairie Police. Officers discovered the missing toddler wrapped in the blanket, and it appeared she had been there for at least a couple of days.

Officers are focused on finding out the exact time she died, whether she died in Minnesota or Wisconsin and who killed her.

Higgins had been arrested in Milwaukee last Wednesday, two days before Noelani was located. 

Charges have not yet been filed in her death. 

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up for the family of Neolani. 

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Beth McDonough

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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