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UPDATE: Preliminary investigation determines missing 2-year-old Noelani Robinson died from blunt force trauma

UPDATE: Preliminary investigation determines missing 2-year-old Noelani Robinson died from blunt force trauma

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Updated: 6:02 p.m. March 16, 2019

STEELE COUNTY, Minn. (CBS 58/AP) -- The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has done a preliminary investigation of the body found in Steele County Friday evening around 6 p.m.

The body is believed to be 2-year-old Noelani Robinson, but are waiting for family to identify the body for a full identification.

The Medical Examiner in Minnesota has determined a preliminary cause of death to be homicide due to blunt force trauma to the head. 

According to authorities, the body appeared to be in the ditch near Blooming Prairie, Minnesota for a number of days. 

Officials are still trying to determine when, where and who killed Noelani. They have searched a hotel room in Austin, Minnesota where Noelani's father Dariaz Higgins stayed at one point during the past week. 

Authorities have not disclosed a motive in the death of the girl's mom, 24-year-old Sierra Robinson. Police said Higgins was Robinson's pimp and they had been romantically involved but were no longer together. Robinson had left Noelani with Higgins when she moved to Las Vegas last month but wanted her back, authorities said.

Higgins, 34, is accused of fatally shooting Robinson and wounding one of her friends. Police arrested him Wednesday and prosecutors have charged him with first-degree intentional homicide. Online court records do not list an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

The friend told police that Higgins had been living in Miami when he agreed to meet Robinson in Milwaukee to return Noelani to her. However, charging documents list a Milwaukee address for Higgins.

According to those documents, Higgins, Robinson, and her friend spent time driving around together in Milwaukee doing drugs Monday, before Higgins took them to an apartment building where he told them Noelani was. Authorities have not said whether they believe Noelani was there at the time. Prosecutors said Higgins shot Robinson and her friend when they got out of the car.

An Amber Alert had been issued for Noelani but was canceled Saturday.

Morales had suggested Friday that Noelani could be in the hands of human traffickers, but declined to provide details for why investigators believed that, other than to say, "That's the world that these two individuals lived in, the victim and the suspect."

Higgins is currently in the Milwaukee County Jail on charges of killing Noelani's mother, Sierra Robinson. He is expected to make his first court appearance on Sunday, March 17.

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Posted: 9:43 a.m. march 16, 2019

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58/AP) -- The body of 2-year-old Noelani Robinson is believed to have been found in Steele County, Minnesota.

Authorities say a body was found in a ditch around 7:00 p.m. Friday near Highway 218.

Milwaukee Police say an off duty Minnesota Department of Public Works employee was driving home when he saw a blanket. Inside that blanket, there was a body of a child matching the toddler's description.

According to a spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the body is preliminarily confirmed to be Noelani Robinson.

"Currently when I say this is a death investigation, we still have to have an autopsy, we have to continue our investigation to determine venue, and we have to determine where we proceed from there for the types of charges that we will be seeking," Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said during a press conference Saturday morning.

Milwaukee Police believe that the death of Noelani did not occur within the last 24 hours.

"She had been there for quite some time which is consistent with the suspect's time when he was in that area in Minnesota," Chief Morales said.

Dariaz Higgins, who is in custody for the fatal shooting of Noelani's mother Sierra Robinson, has not been formally charged with the toddler's death but Milwaukee Police say their investigation is 'headed in that direction.'

Milwaukee Police are hoping the results of the autopsy will be available on Monday. 

Higgins, of Miami, is accused of fatally shooting 24-year-old Sierra Robinson and wounding one of her friends Monday. Police arrested him Wednesday and prosecutors have charged him with first-degree murder.

Prosecutors said in charging documents that Higgins traveled to Milwaukee to give Noelani to Robinson, but it was unknown if Higgins actually brought her with him. Police said Higgins was Robinson's pimp and they had been romantically involved but were no longer together. Robinson left Noelani with Higgins when she moved to Las Vegas last month but wanted her back, authorities said.

According to charging documents, Higgins, Robinson, and her friend spent time driving around together in Milwaukee doing drugs Monday, before Higgins took them to an apartment building where he told them Noelani was. Prosecutors said Higgins shot Robinson and her friend when they got out of the car.

Morales had suggested Noelani could be in the hands of human traffickers, but declined to provide details for why investigators believed that, other than to say "that's the world that these two individuals lived in, the victim and the suspect."

Stay with CBS 58 News for more information on this developing story.

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