Food Network’s ‘Worst Cooks In America’ Champion Claims Murdered 3-Year-Old Drowned
A former champion on the Food Network reality series Worst Cooks in America told a bail hearing judge Friday that the 3-year-old girl in her custody died after drinking too much water.
Ariel Robinson, 29, and her husband, Jerry, 34, of Simpsonville, North Carolina, have been charged with homicide by child abuse in the death of Victoria Rose Smith on Jan. 14. The girl was a foster child in the Robinsons’ care.
The hearing judge denied the Robinsons bail request in the matter. “Based on the seriousness of the charges and the egregious nature of the allegations in this case, I do find the defendant in this case is a flight risk or does pose a substantial danger to the community, most particularly to the children who are in her custody, and potentially even to herself,” the judge stated.
The Worst Cooks in America winner claimed during the hearing that the girl drowned after drinking too much water. She also said bruises on her body were the result of a botched Heimlich maneuver she used in an attempt to save her.
A coroner’s report said the girl died from blunt force trauma and did not mention drowning. The Smith girl had deep purple bruising on her abdomen, back and legs, as well as abrasions on her face.
Prosecutors Friday claimed that Ariel Robinson told first responders on January 14 that Victoria Smith “went limp” after ingesting an excess of liquids. Robinson claimed she performed the Heimlich maneuver when she thought she was choking.
As for the bruises found all over the body, Ariel Robinson blamed the girl’s brother, who was also in the Robinsons’ custody. She claimed he had “anger issues.”
Her husband, Jerry Robinson, said his wife “spanked and beat Victoria with different things, including a belt, paddle, flip flop or whatever’, according to North Carolina television station WYFF4. Ariel allegedly hit the girl with a belt, he said.
Ariel Robinson won Season 20 of Worst Cooks in America, receiving a $25,000 cash prize. The network has since scrubbed its website and other locations for that segment of the show.
Shortly after winning, Ariel Robinson and her husband Jerry took custody of Victoria and her two brothers, aged five and seven.
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