Driver unknowingly gave accused killer ride during Amber Alert

WADSWORTH, Ill. (WISN)– Two days after a gunman killed Sierra Robinson and seriously injured her friend, Milwaukee police found the SUV investigators believed the killer was driving abandoned on an Illinois interstate, court records obtained by our Milwaukee affiliate, WISN 12 News show.

According to a search warrant affidavit for the vehicle, police found the 2018 Nissan Rogue abandoned about a half mile south of a toll near the Wisconsin -Illinois state line March 13. The discovery of the SUV confirmed a description provided by a man who heard the gunshots near 91st Street and Mill Road on March 11.

The man described to police having seen a dark-colored Nissan SUV in the back of an apartment complex at the shooting scene.

The vehicle was the subject of an Amber Alert to find Robinson’s 2-year-old daughter, Noelani, and the toddler’s father, Dariaz Higgins.

The surviving shooting victim told police Higgins had promised to reunite Robinson with her daughter but instead shot the two women, a criminal complaint filed against Higgins said.

“(Sierra) Robinson was also in possession of children’s clothing that appeared to be new with tags still affixed,” a Detective Scott Lackovic wrote in the affidavit for the warrant.

The records show police found cigarettes, gum and empty liquor bottles inside the SUV. The records do not indicate whether the toddler had ever been in the vehicle.

A passerby found a child’s body along a rural Minnesota highway March 15. Officials said the body was believed to be Noelani’s and had been on the road for a number of days. A preliminary autopsy said the child died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head.

According to the warrant, after ditching the SUV, Higgins hitched a ride with a stranger who drove him back into Wisconsin and dropped him off at the first rest stop along the interstate in Pleasant Prairie.

In an email, a police spokesperson said the Good Samaritan had no idea he had a suspected killer in his vehicle.

Lackovic said in the affidavit the man identified Higgins from a booking photo. The records do not indicate what the two may have discussed in the short ride from the SUV to the rest stop.

Police would later capture Higgins on March 13 at the Midpoint Motel on West Appleton Avenue. Nearly an hour after the arrest, police also captured a man they said was helping Higgins avoid police.

Police records reviewed by the 12 News Investigative Unit confirmed the man police arrested after Higgins is not the same person who gave Higgins a ride to the rest stop. A spokesperson for the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office said prosecutors were still reviewing the case against the alleged accomplice for possible charges.

WISN 12 News is not identifying the man by name because he has not been formally charged, but court records show the man is a convicted sex offender.

The search warrant affidavit did not indicate how Higgins got from the rest stop to the motel or where he may have been in between.

A Milwaukee County court commissioner on Sunday set bond for Higgins at $1 million cash which was double what prosecutors asked for. The commissioner based the decision on Higgins history of skipping court dates.

Higgins is charged with Sierra Robinson’s death and reckless endangerment for the injuries the other woman sustained. That woman’s family previously told WISN 12 News they want the charge amended to attempted intentional homicide.

Higgins is not currently charged in the death of Noelani, but Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said investigators were seeking additional charges directly related to the toddler’s death. In a news conference, Morales said Higgins lied about his daughter’s whereabouts and saw the interaction with detectives as a game.

“The suspect is a cold-blooded killer,” Morales said to reporters.

Police have not said when Noelani was killed, but believed it happened long before her body was discovered. They have not publicly released a timeline of the events in the investigation.

More at WKOW 27 News

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