Ariel Robinson, the most recent winner of the Food Network series Worst Cooks in America, and her husband have been arrested for alleged homicide by child abuse involving the death of their 3-year-old foster daughter, Victoria Rose Smith.
Ariel, a 29-year-old former middle school teacher and amateur standup comedian, and husband Jerry Robinson, 34, have not commented publicly on the charges. Following their arrests, the entire 20th season of the reality show was removed from the cable channel’s VOD offerings, while past seasons and season 21, which premiered earlier this month, are available to stream.
Season 20 of Worst Cooks in America is also unavailable on Discovery+, Hulu and YouTube, Deadline reported on Saturday, Jan. 23. The Food Network and parent company Discovery Networks have also not commented.
According to local TV affiliate FOX Carolina, on the afternoon of Jan. 14, police in Simpsonville, S.C. received a call about an unresponsive juvenile victim. She was pronounced dead after being transported to a hospital. The local coroner identified her to be Victoria and determined the cause of her death to be multiple blunt force injuries.
On Tuesday, Jan. 19, Ariel and Jerry were both charged with homicide by child abuse, jail records show. A judge denied both bail.
The Greenville County, S.C. coroner told CBS affiliate WSPA that Victoria was a foster child. According to local NBC affiliate WYFF, the little girl spent most of her life in foster care.
“When she entered a room, all eyes were on her,” her former foster mother of 10 months, Tiffany Huggins, told the TV station, “because she demanded it and she was a cutie.”
She continued, tearfully, “She had the best personality and I’m not just saying that cause I was her momma, but she was just our light. She was a beautiful child, inside and out.”
WYFF reported that after winning Worst Cooks in America and its $25,000 prize last August, Ariel told the station that she and her husband had recently adopted three more children. FOX Carolina said she told them she was a mother of five.
Both outlets quoted The South Carolina Department of Social Services as saying in a statement that the group “is aware of allegations and the arrests made and is investigating along with law enforcement. The agency’s standard procedures in a case like this involves taking appropriate action with any children remaining in the home after evaluating safety and risk.”