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Parents accused of killing 2-year-old son appear in court

Updated June 11, 2024 - 7:51 pm

A mother and father charged with murder in the death of their 2-year-old son appeared in court Tuesday, days after the boy’s body was found in a dumpster near downtown Las Vegas.

Police found Jacoby Robinson Jr.’s body early Friday morning, hours after his mother reported him missing from a park near Lewis Avenue and South 15th Street.

But the boy’s mother and father, 23-year-old Diaja Smith and 24-year-old Jacoby Robinson, were arrested after investigators found surveillance footage of Smith walking towards the dumpster, pushing what appeared to be the boy’s lifeless body in a stroller.

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

The report detailed the family’s lengthy history with Child Protective Services. According to the report, Smith had lost custody of some of her children two years ago “and just recently got custody back in May 2024.”

Smith also has two daughters who were removed from her custody by Child Protective Services in Texas, the report said.

Both Smith and Jacoby Robinson are being held in custody without bail, although attorneys have yet to present bail arguments to a judge.

During a brief court appearance on Tuesday, Smith and Jacoby Robinson told Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Nadia Wood that they understand the charges they’re facing. They have both been charged with child abuse or neglect and murder with the use of a deadly weapon.

Attorneys for Smith and Jacoby Robinson declined to comment.

As officials were investigating Jacoby Jr.’s death, it was discovered that another one of Smith’s son’s had injuries, including bruising on his abdomen. The child was hospitalized in critical condition with a brain bleed and was placed into the custody of Child Protective Services, according to the arrest report.

Smith told police the boy hurt himself by falling off his bicycle.

After being confronted with inconsistencies in her statements, Smith told police that Jacoby Jr. had a seizure the day before, and that the boy’s father attempted to perform CPR on him.

She later admitted that Jacoby Jr. was dead when she left the apartment with him in a stroller.

“She stated she thought about burning his body so she could keep his ashes with her,” the report said.

Jacoby Robinson told police that Smith had beaten their sons. When told that the hospitalized child was suffering from a brain bleed, Jacoby Robinson “admitted that he has seen Diaja go overboard disciplining him in the past,” according to the report.

A preliminary hearing in the case is set for July 25.

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

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