Who was Victoria Rose Smith? How Ariel Robinson's 3-year-old foster child died after blunt force trauma to head
Simpsonville couple Ariel Robinson and her 34-year-old husband Jerry Robinson has been charged with homicide by child abuse and are being held at the Greenville County Detention Center without bond.
According to Simpsonville police, they arrested the couple in connection to the violent death of a child, on Tuesday, January 19. Ariel was a former teacher and many might also know her as "Ari" from Season 20 of 'Worst Cooks in America' where she also took away the winning title along with $25,000. After the show, Ari had said in many interviews that the money would help her to raise her kids better.
For the uninitiated, the 29-year-old along with husband Jerry had adopted a family of three orphaned siblings to their existing brood of their two young boys. Regarding this case, the police said that they responded to an address along Sellwood Circle on January 19 afternoon after receiving a call about an unresponsive juvenile victim who was pronounced dead after being taken to the hospital, at arrival.
Who was Victoria Rose Smith?
The Greenville County Coroner's Office identified the child as three-year-old Victoria Rose Smith. The coroner determined her cause of death to be multiple blunt force traumas to the head and body of the victim, according to a Fox Carolina report.
Victoria or "Tori" as her former foster family used to refer to her as are in complete shock after hearing the news of her death. “She was sweet as could possibly be, so it makes no sense how somebody could hurt her in any kind of way,” said Alan West whose aunt was the child's foster mother for nearly a year before she was adopted by the Robinsons, said a report.
West and his wife Ashley said that the last they saw of Victoria was last year and they described her as "fun, funny, sassy, and affectionate". Of the news, Ashley said, “I still can’t believe that it’s true. I just feel like maybe we’ll all wake up and it’ll be a bad dream.” Alan also added, “You could not be mad at that girl just by how she looked and how sweet she was, so I don’t understand how this man and woman would have done this to her."
Here are some photos Ariel shared on her Instagram account:
The horrendous child abuse case
In an old Instagram post, Robinson had narrated her adoption journey and said, "I was trying to fight back the tears because I am going to miss my kids (yes, I said “my kids” because they are way more than my students) and my co-workers sooo much!!!" She added, "As most of you know, we are going through and adoption to finally get our baby girl (😍🤗💕), and it’s been a LONG time coming. We’ve been wanting to do this for 7 years and actively working towards it for 4."
Arrest warrants state that the Robinsons were responsible for the inflictions on Victoria. Police say they had probable cause to issue the arrest warrants based on their investigation. The child's death remains under investigation by police, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), and the coroner's office. The South Carolina Department of Social Services has also been made aware of the case and is investigating.
They told the outlet that the standard procedure in the case includes, "taking appropriate action with any children remaining in the home after evaluating safety and risk". The case is going to be prosecuted by the 13th Circuit Solicitor's Office, according to a release from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. Ariel and Jerry are currently being held at the Greenville County Detention Center.