Lifestyle & Human Interest

Food Network's 'Worst Cooks in America' Winner Charged with Homicide of Toddler


Earlier this year, 29-year-old Ariel Robinson from Simpsonville, South Carolina, made headlines for winning season 20 of Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America.”

In August, Robinson — who’d stated she was a mother of five — took home the grand prize of $25,000 as well as bragging rights.

Now, she and her 34-year-old husband Jerry Robinson are making headlines for a much darker reason.

On Thursday, Jan. 14, around 2:25 p.m., authorities received a call regarding an unresponsive child at the Robinson residence.

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The 3-year-old girl was unresponsive when first responders arrived and was pronounced dead when she was taken to the hospital.

Parks Evans, the Greenville County Coroner, identified the girl as Victoria Rose Smith, and determined that the cause of death was physical abuse and multiple blunt force injuries.

On Tuesday, Ariel and Jerry Robinson were arrested and charged with homicide by child abuse. They are currently being held at the Greenville County Detention Center without bond and could face 20 years to life if convicted.

Many sources have stated that it was unknown if or how the toddler was related to the Robinsons, but according to WSPA-TV, the Robinsons were her foster parents.

According to the Daily Mail, the Robinsons adopted three of their five children in 2020.

“The South Carolina Department of Social Services is aware of allegations and the arrests made and is investigating along with law enforcement,” the South Carolina Department of Social Services said in a statement Wednesday, according to WSPA.

“The agency’s standard procedures in a case like this involved taking appropriate action with any children remaining in the home after evaluating safety and risk.”

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Simpsonville Police spokesperson Justin Lee Campbell said it was a difficult and sad case for all involved.

“Police officers handle all kinds of cases, and these kind of cases can be the hardest for them to do,” Campbell told People. “It is a sad day.

“You bring charges and maybe convictions, but at the end of the day the life of a child was taken. For anyone who knew the victim or was related to the victim, they are in our thoughts and prayers.”

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