MILWAUKEE -- The man accused of abducting 2-year-old Noelani Robinson and fatally shooting Sierra Robinson, 24, made his initial court appearance Sunday, March 17. Cash bond was set at $1 million.
Higgins faces one count of first degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon in connection with the fatal shooting of Sierra Robinson that happened March 11 near 91st and Mill. He faces one count of first degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon in connection with the abduction of Noelani Robinson.
A preliminary hearing was scheduled for March 25.
Higgins was arrested March 13 near 103rd and Caldwell. Police said a second person was arrested for harboring/aiding a fugitive.
An Amber Alert was issued for Noelani Robinson on March 11 after her mother was murdered.
Officials with the Minnesota Department of Safety said on Friday evening, March 15, a passerby reported seeing a blanket and possible remains in a ditch along Highway 218, about a mile north of Blooming Prairie, Minnesota -- in Steele County. A child's body was found wrapped in a blanket. The Southern Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner's Office preliminarily identified the child as Noelani Robinson. The medical examiner determined the preliminary cause and manner of death to be homicide due to blunt force trauma to the head.
Minnesota Department of Safety officials said a search warrant was executed at a hotel in Austin, Minnesota, where it was believed Higgins stayed at one point during the search for Noelani Robinson. Officials noted "where, when and who killed Noelani Robinson will be determined during the course of the investigation."
Charges against Higgins were filed out of Milwaukee County on March 12 -- while he was still on the run.
According to the criminal complaint, police were called to 91st and Mill just after 1 p.m. on March 11. They located Sierra Robinson -- who was fatally shot. Another woman, 28, was lying on the ground. She was taken to Froedtert Hospital for treatment of her injuries.
"I just never would have imagined that someone would be capable of committing a crime such as this," said Charity Brooks, Sierra Robinson's stepmother. "We're aware of the things that are happening, but we're trying not to, at this particular point, focus as much on it. Right now, we just want to make sure we're prepared to lay Sierra and Noelani to rest in the most dignified way possible. It's a step for us to move towards closure and heal as a family and heal as a nation."
The woman who was wounded spoke to police after getting treatment. The criminal complaint indicated she said she knew Higgins as "DL" -- and had known him for seven years. She indicated Sierra Robinson had been "messing around" and Robinson became pregnant -- and that "DL and Sierra stayed together with their child, Noelani."
The complaint noted Higgins was formerly the women's "pimp."
The complaint indicated in February, "Sierra no longer wanted to be with DL and she moved to Las Vegas, leaving the child with DL." But once in Las Vegas, Robinson tried to get Noelani back from Higgins. Eventually he agreed to give Noelani back to Robinson -- and on Saturday, March 9, "Sierra flew back to Milwaukee."
According to the criminal complaint, Higgins agreed to let Robinson have Noelani on Monday. They were set to meet near 22nd and Fond du Lac. The woman who was wounded in the shooting told police she went with Robinson for this meeting -- but the child was not with Higgins. Instead, the complaint said the "three of them drove around, smoking weed, drinking and talking about old times." The woman told police she noticed Higgins had "a small, mini Draco AK style rifle in the driver's map pocket."
The complaint indicated Higgins finally drove to an apartment building near 91st and Mill Road and "he told them that was where Noelani was." The woman and Robinson were walking ahead of Higgins to the apartment when the woman said she heard gunshots. The woman said she "immediately felt pain to her stomach and she looked back and saw DL holding the Draco with two hands shooting at her and Sierra." After the shooting, Higgins got back into the SUV and drove away.