Season 20 of the competition is no longer available for viewing on Hulu, Discovery+, YouTube or the Food Network website after its winner, Ariel Robinson, 29, and her husband Jerry Robinson, 34, were charged with homicide by child abuse related to the death of their adopted three-year-old daughter Victoria Rose Smith in South Carolina.
Ariel is a former ELA teacher at Sanders Middle School and an aspiring stand-up comedian. She won $25,000 in the most recent edition of “Worst Cooks in America,” a competition between individuals with sub-par cooking skills.
Contestants of the series participate in a boot camp supervised by a celebrity chef in the competition. Veteran chefs and Food Network personalities Anne Burrel and Alex Guarnaschelli co-hosted the competition. It was filmed in February 2020 and aired over the summer of last year. Meanwhile, Season 21 of “Worst Cooks in America” premiered on the Food Network earlier this month. It is available for streaming along with the first 19 seasons.
In an interview with Greenville News last year, Ariel shared that she had adopted three children, who moved in with her family in March 2020. Victoria was reportedly one of the children. Following her victory in the reality series, Ariel told WYFF News 4 that the money would help her and her husband raise the three children they had recently adopted.
“I just know that the Lord had His hands on me and He had a purpose for me to go on there,” she said. “He knew we were going through this adoption, we really could use the money, and He just let everything work out for our good.”
She also told the news outlet that she’s planning to use her winnings from the show to plan a fun trip with her family.
“I want to take them to a water park resort or the beach. A vacation, so we can do one big thing as a family this year,” she said.
Robinson’s adopted child died of blunt force injuries
Those interviews gave no indications of what would transpire on Jan. 14. At around 2:25 p.m. that day, officers with the Simpsonville Police Department and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division responded to a call about an unresponsive child at the Robinson family’s Sellwood Circle home. The unresponsive child – Victoria – was rushed to an area hospital, where she was declared dead. According to the medical examiner at the Greenville Country Coroner’s Office, the young girl died due to several blunt force injuries.
Police spokesman Justin Lee Campbell said: “Police officers handle all kinds of cases, and these kinds of cases can be the hardest for them to do. 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.” (Related: Hunter Biden chaired a foundation to stop child abuse, while engaging in it.)
The Robinsons are being held at the Greenville County Detention Center without bond, jail records show. If convicted, they face sentences of 20 years to life in prison. Prior to her adoption, Victoria had spent most of her short life in foster care.
“She was sweet as could possibly be, so it makes no sense how somebody could hurt her in any kind of way,” said Alan West, whose aunt was Victoria’s foster mother for a year.
The South Carolina Department of Social Services is evaluating the safety of the remaining children under the Robinson’s care.
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