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Mother accused of leaving 2-year-old’s body in dumpster

Updated June 10, 2024 - 6:46 pm

A man and woman accused of murder in the death of their 2-year-old son whose body was found in a dumpster last week are being held without bail, court records show.

Diaja Smith, 23, and Jacoby Robinson, 24, are both facing charges of child abuse or neglect and murder with a deadly weapon, court records show. They were arrested in the death of Jacoby Robinson Jr., who was reported missing after he was last seen Thursday evening near Lewis Avenue and South 15th Street.

According to a Metropolitan Police Department arrest report, Smith called police Thursday evening to report her son missing. She said she had taken her son and two other children to the park but that the 2-year-old had disappeared when she stopped to change one child’s diaper.

At about 1 a.m. Friday, police found the boy’s body inside a dumpster in the 1300 block of Lewis Avenue. Jacoby was pronounced dead at the scene, and homicide detectives took over the investigation.

Jacoby had “significant signs of physical injury to the head, torso, and buttocks,” and his injuries were consistent with physical abuse, according to the report.

Police found surveillance footage that showed Smith and Jacoby Robinson leaving an apartment complex Thursday evening with the children, as Smith pushed Jacoby Jr. in a stroller. According to the report, the boy was not seen moving while he was in the stroller.

Surveillance also showed Smith walking in the direction of a dumpster where the boy’s body was found, around the time she had reported he disappeared, the report said.

While Child Protective Services and homicide detectives spoke with Smith, officials saw that another one of her children had injuries. Smith claimed that the boy had fallen while riding a bike. The boy was taken to a hospital, where it was discovered he had a brain bleed, the report said.

He was later placed in the custody of Child Protective Services.

‘But it was too late’

When confronted by inconsistencies in her statements, Smith denied that she had abused her children. Eventually, she told police that her 2-year-old son had a seizure the previous day. She said she called Jacoby Robinson for help, and he attempted to perform CPR on the boy, “but it was too late,” the report said.

“She later admitted that in the video of her leaving the apartment with the kids, (redacted) was dead in the stroller,” the report said. “…She stated she thought about burning his body so she could keep his ashes with her.”

Jacoby Robinson told police that on Thursday morning, he woke up to hear Smith beating one of her sons, whose name was redacted in the report. He later admitted to performing CPR on Jacoby Jr., and that the boy had been throwing up.

“Jacoby Sr. denied any knowledge that his son was deceased prior to the interview, or of the location of his body,” the report said.

Home in ‘poor condition’

When police searched Smith’s apartment, they found it was in “poor condition,” with minimal food inside and insects throughout the home. Police also found a stroller with several matches in the bottom, according to the report.

Police alleged that evidence showed Smith beat the children “with a belt and power cords,” and that Jacoby Robinson was “encouraging Diaja to beat them,” the report said.

Smith and Jacoby Robinson were booked into the Clark County Detention Center on Friday, jail records show.

Both Smith and Jacoby Robinson had an initial court appearance on Saturday. Attorneys did not present arguments about the defendants’ custody status, and a bail hearing is expected to be held at a later date, court records show.

In the meantime, Justice of the Peace Pro Tempore Holly Stoberski ordered the two to be held in custody without bail.

Court records show one prior arrest each for Smith and Jacoby Robinson in Clark County. They were arrested on April 6, 2023.

Smith faced a charge of battery on a protected person that was dismissed by prosecutors. Robinson was arrested and later convicted of a misdemeanor domestic battery charge, and was sentenced to community service and ordered to stay out of trouble, court records show.

The two are set to appear for a court hearing in the murder case on Tuesday morning.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240.

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