Reality show winner and her husband charged with death of a child

Victoria Smith, 3. [Image credit: WYFF]

In August 2020, 29-year-old Ariel Robinson won season 20 of Food Network's "Worst Cooks in America" and with it, a prize of $25,000. The show had been filmed in February of 2020.


"I just know that the Lord had his hands on me and he had a purpose for me to go on there," Ariel was quoted as telling WYFF in August after the win. "He knew we were going through his adoption, and we really could use the money and he just let everything work out for our good."


In that adoption which took place in March 2020, Ariel and her husband, 34-year-old Jerry Robinson became parents to three children that they had been fostering for a period of time including 3-year-old Victoria Smith.


"She had the best personality," Tiffany Huggins said of Victoria. "I'm not just saying that cause I was here momma, but she was just out light. She was a beautiful child, inside and out."


Before Victoria went to live with the Robinsons, Huggins had fostered her for 10 months.


On the afternoon of January 14, officers responded to a call of an unresponsive child.  They found Victoria and transported her to the Greenville Memorial Hospital where she was declared to be deceased.


A report release by the Greenville County senior deputy coroner Kent Dill determined that Victoria had died as a result of multiple blunt force injuries.


On January 19 Arial and Jerry were both charged with homicide by child abuse.  They are currently being held in the Greenville Detention Center after a judge denied them bond.


The South Carolina Board of Education issued a statement on Thursday, January 21 announcing that it had suspended Ariel's educator certificate in response to the charges filed.


"The SCDE has reason to believe that, due to the serious nature of this allegation of misconduct, Ms. Robinson may pose a threat to the health, safety, and welfare of students who may be under her instruction, and that emergency action is required. After considering the evidence presented by the SCDE, the chair of the state board finds that Ms. Robinson’s educator certificate shall be summarily suspended until a due process hearing is held and/or this matter is otherwise resolved," the suspension document said according to WYFF.


She had more than three years of experience as an educator, but had not worked since the 2018-2019 school year.


Since news of the arrest broke, Food Network has scrubbed the episodes from their streaming services, but has issued no statement.


The South Carolina Department of Law Enforcement is still investigating the case, and it is not clear when the Robinsons are due back in court.

Ariel Robinson, 29, and Jerry Robinson, 34, of Simpsonville, South Carolina. [Image credit: Greenville County Detention Center]