NEW: Dariaz Higgins new mugshot after being booked into Milwaukee County Jail. According to jail records, he now faces additional charges: resisting/obstructing officer and 2 counts of use of a dangerous weapon. @WISN12News pic.twitter.com/hZaxu4HPYJ
— Derrick Rose (@DRoseTV) March 17, 2019
“This is our job, and the closure is not the closure we like to find,” Morales said. “It’s something that we have to come out and do.”
According to Morales, an off-duty public worker found something out of the ordinary in rural Minnesota at around 7 p.m. on March 15 when he was driving along highway 218, just 15 miles north of Austin, Minnesota. That’s when he found the blanket with the child’s body inside.
Investigators called it a death investigation, reported WKOW, and said they await the autopsy for results of the formal identification of the body.
However, the Southern Minnesota Regional Examiner’s Office said on March 16 that the body found had been preliminarily identified as Noelani Robinson, according to WISN.
.@MilwaukeePolice will hold a news conference Saturday morning as multiple news outlets report the body of 2-year-old #NoelaniRobinson was found in Minnesota. Her father, Dariaz Higgins, was arrested for the death of the girl’s mother, Sierra Robinson. https://t.co/I6QJMatJNZ pic.twitter.com/LPk4CumiLe
— Sean Caldwell (@Sean_WSAW) March 16, 2019
The cause of death was deemed to be homicide after a blunt force trauma would was found on the child’s head.
Chief Morales said he believed Robinson hadn’t died within the 24 hours of her being found.
Events Leading Up To Robinson’s Discovery
Earlier in the week, an amber alert was sent out to nationwide in an effort to help find the two-year-old after police arrested her father, Dariaz Higgins, when he was suspected to have shot the girl’s mother, Sierra Robinson, and kidnapped Robinson.
Police said Higgins and Sierra had previously been romantically involved but were no longer together. Sierra had left the two-year-old Robinson with Higgins when she moved to Las Vegas a month earlier but had recently said she wanted her daughter back.
Higgins was to travel to Milwaukee to give Robinson to her mother but prosecutors said in the charging documents that it was uncertain whether Higgins had actually brought the two-year-old with him when he met and allegedly murdered Sierra, according to AP.
Dariaz Higgins was in intake court in #Milwaukee this morning. He’s charged with the first degree intentional homicide of Sierra Robinson, #NoelaniRobinson’s mother. No new charges were filed in connection with the death of Noelani. pic.twitter.com/Y0dwC6A0ki
— Ashley Rice (@ARiceReports) March 17, 2019
Police Chief Morales said that Higgins then gave police false information about Robinson’s whereabouts, according to WISN.
The #FBI is offering a $5,000 REWARD for info leading to the location of two year old Noelani Robinson. Last seen with Dariaz Higgins who is now in custody with Milwaukee PD. However, Noelani is still missing and considered in danger. If you see her, call 911 immediately. pic.twitter.com/HXlT0b2hYL
— FBI Milwaukee (@FBIMilwaukee) March 15, 2019
“The search to find Noelani has become a game to him,” Morales said of Higgins, who has known ties to criminal activity related to human trafficking. “The suspect is a cold-blooded killer.”
Chief Morales said the suspect, Dariaz Higgins, and the victim, Sierra Robinson, live in the world of human trafficking. He called Higgins a “cold-blooded killer” who has turned the search for Noelani into a game for him. pic.twitter.com/xh682xA5XN
— Carl Deffenbaugh (@CarlDeff) March 15, 2019
Morales told the public during the search for Robinson that if anyone was a victim of Higgins’s lies and was in possession of Robinson, it was important to turn the child over.
“If you release Noelani over now, and she is not harmed, you will likely not be prosecuted. However, if you continue to hold Noelani in your possession, we will eventually find you and her, and you will be prosecuted to the highest degree of the law,” he said.
According to reports, Higgins also had connections to Miami as well as Las Vegas, and during the search for Robinson, the FBI offered a $5,000 reward for any information that would lead them to finding Robinson.
WISN said investigators found Higgins on Mar. 13 at the Midpoint Motel, which was located within 2 miles from the place the shooting took place. However, they did not find Robinson with Higgins.
Police also arrested a man they believed was helping Higgins while he was on the run. They found the man at Timmerman Terrace Apartments on West Villard Avenue roughly around an hour after locating Higgins on March 13.
The man was not charged but he did have a criminal history.
Mayor of Milwaukee Tom Barrett issued a statement on March 16 with more details about the girl’s death, saying that he was deeply saddened by the news of the death of the two-year-old.
2-year-old Noelani Robinson went missing Monday after @MilwaukeePolice say her dad, Dariaz Higgins killed her mom, Sierra. She was found dead yesterday wrapped in a blanket 15 miles north of Austin, Minnesota. Authorities say she died from blunt force trauma to the head. @tmj4 pic.twitter.com/pjtjDY0NaB
— Lauren Linder (@lauren_linder) March 17, 2019
“I am deeply saddened by the news that the body of 2-year-old Noelani Robinson has been found. She was a beautiful toddler and her life was cut short as a result of human trafficking. Her unfortunate death is a reminder of the dangers of human trafficking. I extend my condolences to the family of Noelani Robinson and all who are mourning her death.”