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Grandfather of Noelani Robinson devastated by loss of daughter and granddaughter

Posted at 8:12 AM, Mar 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-17 09:12:20-04

A two-year-old girl who went missing on Monday was found dead, wrapped in a blanket, in a ditch nearly 15 miles north of Austin, Minnesota.

The Southern Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner's Office identified her as Noelani Robinson, and determined she died from blunt force trauma to the head.

Her death is ruled a homicide, and Milwaukee Police believe her dad, Dariaz Higgins, is responsible.

An Amber Alert was issued for Noelani after Higgins allegedly shot and killed her mom, Sierra, Monday and then ran off with the toddler. He was taken into custody Wednesday in connection to Sierra's death.

Noelani's grandfather, Hank Robinson was still processing the loss of his daughter, when he learned the tragic news about his granddaughter.

"Her beautiful eyes. They were big and they were ready for all the possibilities," Hank said.

Noelani had a long life ahead of her and her grandfather couldn't wait to see her grow.

"Especially when they get out of diapers, it's a joyful ride with children and I was looking forward to that," he said.

However, Friday night he got the call no family member ever wants to receive, that his 2-year-old granddaughter was dead.

"It just blew my mind," he said.

Hank said his daughter and granddaughter were living in Kansas City, as Sierra was trying to rebuild her life.

She decided she wanted Noelani to know her father, who was in Milwaukee.

"I feel like there was some things that I could have done and that I should have done but I needed to respect my daughter," Hank said.

He hoped for the best, even though he never met Higgins.

"He had put it out there that he wants a relationship with his child and Sierra tried to meet him halfway on that," Hank said.

Now he's trying to understand what went wrong, as he seeks justice for Sierra and Noelani.

"It's just hard to know that the rug has been snatched from up under me you know with both," Hank said.

He appreciates everyone in the Milwaukee area, who has been supporting his family through this difficult time.

He hopes to get Sierra and Noelani back to Kansas City this week so they can have their funerals together next weekend.

Anyone that would like to help the family can donate money to Serenity Funeral Home in Kansas City.