After the capture of her father Dariaz Higgins, 34, a nationwide search for two-year-old Noelani Robinson was launched by the FBI.
Officials say the child was caught between the worlds of street violence and human trafficking, accord to the Journal Sentinel.
Friday night, authorities believe Noelani’s remains were found in Southern Minnesota, according to Steele County Sheriff Lon Theile, who reported the discovery of a body in a ditch along state Highway 28.
A Minnesota Department of Public Safety spokesperson said the body had been “preliminarily confirmed” to be Noelani, according to the Star Tribune.
The FBI offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the location of Noelani, whose mother was shot multiple times by Higgins, her former pimp, according to Milwaukee police.
Higgins shot Sierra Robinson, the toddler’s mother, on Monday afternoon. According to the Amber Alert issued for Noelani, she was last seen with Higgins around 1:30 p.m. Monday, about 30 minutes after the shooting was reported.
A criminal complaint issued following Robinson’s death revealed that she had traveled to Milwaukee from Las Vegas to get Noelani from Higgins, who had been in Miami. A woman, who was grazed by a bullet in Robinson’s shooting, said that Higgins had agreed to meet Robinson in Milwaukee while he was living in Miami. When Robinson showed up Monday, her daughter was not present. The three eventually drove to an apartment building, where Higgins said Noelani was. Higgins then shot Robinson when they got out of their vehicle.
“The suspect is a cold-blooded killer,” Morales said of Higgins, who provided police with false information since his Wednesday arrest. “Our search to find Noelani has become a game to him … it’s obvious that as a parent he truly doesn’t care about Noelani.”
Morales called Higgins the “textbook definition” of suspects involved with human trafficking. Before the remains were found, Morales pleaded with her captors. “If you release Noelani now and she is not harmed, you will likely not be prosecuted,” said Morales.
“However, if you continue to hold Noelani in your possession, we’ll eventually find you and her and you will be prosecuted to the highest degree of the law.”