STEELE COUNTY, Minn. (WITI) -- Charges were filed Thursday against Dariaz Higgins, 35, in connection with the death of Noelani Robinson, nearly a year after Noelani’s mother was murdered and an Amber Alert was issued for the girl.
Higgins faces one count of second-degree murder without intent, with a maximum sentence of 40 years.
On March 15, 2019, a passerby discovered the body of a child wrapped in a blanket in the east ditch north of the intersection of Highway 218 and Highway 30 in Steele County, Minnesota, according to a criminal complaint against Higgins The body was later identified as a 2-year-old female.
An investigation revealed the girl had been at the Rodeway Inn Motel in the City of Austin, in Mower County, Minnesota with her father, Dariaz Higgins, from approximately Feb. 6, 2019, until about March 10, 2019, when her body was removed from the motel and then left in the ditch in Steele County.
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Higgins was arrested in Milwaukee on March 13, 2019, in connection with the fatal shooting of the girl's mother, Sierra Robinson, on March 11, 2019 in Milwaukee. An Amber Alert was issued for Noelani that day.
Higgins said the girl fell off the toilet at the motel and subsequently died. Higgins said he wrapped her body in blankets and left her on the motel room floor by the bed for a couple of days.
Higgins said in the early morning hours of March 10, 2019, he put the girl's body in a vehicle, and he and a woman drove toward Minneapolis in blizzard conditions. He said that he stopped by the side of the road and put the girl's body into the ditch, where she was located a few days later.
An autopsy determined the girl died from non-accidental blunt force trauma to her head. She suffered multiple blunt force injuries to her head, “scleral hemorrhaging, conjunctival petechiae, and brain hemorrhages,” the criminal complaint said. There were also multiple blunt force injuries to her extremities.
Higgins faces one count of first-degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon for the shooting of Sierra Robinson. He faces one count of attempted first-degree intentional homicide for the shooting of Sierra Robinson’s friend the same day. He faces one count of first-degree recklessly endangering safety for injuries to a neighbor who told police he was shot in the neck during the incident.