KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City father is now mourning his daughter and granddaughter after they were found dead up north.
Hank Robinson held back tears Wednesday afternoon as he flipped through pictures on his cell phone of two people he treasured: his 24-year-old daughter, Sierra Robinson, and her 2-year-old daughter, Noelani.
“It’s one of the hardest things I have ever experienced in my life,” he said. “Really it is the hardest. Sierra was my first born. Noelani was my only grandchild. Both had infectious personalities. I really miss their smiles and presence. They both were beautiful inside and outside.”
Sierra was found shot to death in Milwaukee; Noelani’s body was discovered days later in a ditch in Minnesota.
The Kansas City father can’t believe his daughter and granddaughter are both now tragically gone.
“I cried so much last week after a relative called and told me what happened. I’m now just wondering how I’m going to finish the rest of my life with this being on my mind every day,” Robinson said.
He said in January Sierra took his granddaughter to Milwaukee to meet her father, Dariaz Higgins, for the first time.
“My daughter wanted her child to have a relationship with her father,” Robinson said.
That would be the last time he’d see his daughter and granddaughter alive.
“She was supposed to return with Noelani and go back to work at a Starbucks here in Kansas City. She left my granddaughter with Higgins for six weeks, and then Sierra went to Las Vegas to visit family members,” he said.
But when his daughter returned to Milwaukee, he said Higgins refused to give Noelani back to her mom.
“There was trouble, verbal confrontations,” Robinson said.
Robinson said he later talked to police and learned his daughter and a female friend went to meet Higgins at an apartment complex, thinking they were going to pick up the child.
However, the grieving grandpa said that never happened.
“I never approved of that man. From what I understand, Sierra and her friend got out of the truck that he was in, and he told them my granddaughter was inside an apartment,” Robinson told FOX4. “When my daughter and her friend started walking toward the apartment building, Higgins shot them both in their backs and cut them down. My daughter was shot three times, and her friend, who’s still in the hospital facing a long recovery, was shot twice.”
Police said they later found little Noelani dead 3 hours away in Austin, Minnesota.
“He left my grandchild, his daughter, on the side of the road in a ditch, wrapped in a blanket,” Robinson said. “All I can say is that God needed angels. I want him to know that I will be in the courtroom especially for the sentencing phase. Hopefully, he’ll plead guilty and make it easy on all of us.”
On Friday, family and friends will honor Sierra Robinson and her little girl during a prayer vigil. It will be held at Hibb Park near 59th and Spruce in Kansas City.
The young mom and little girl will be laid to rest on Saturday.
Higgins has been charged with Sierra Robinson’s murder. So far, prosecutors have not charged him with killing the toddler. He remains in a Milwaukee jail on a $1 million cash bond.
In the meantime, police believe Higgins had help while he was on the run. On Wednesday, the alleged accomplice was arrested on charges of harboring and aiding a fugitive.