Mother accused of killing toddler later found in dumpster

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The mother accused of reporting her 2-year-old son missing, only to then face a murder charge for allegedly killing him and putting his body in a dumpster, regained sole custody of her child just three weeks earlier, the 8 News Now Investigators have learned.

Diaja Smith, 23, regained custody of 2-year-old Jacoby Robinson Jr. and his twin brother on May 14. On June 6, Smith allegedly caused Jacoby’s death, police said.

Police suspect Jacoby died earlier in the day before Smith allegedly put his body in the dumpster near Lewis Avenue and 15th Street, documents said. She then called 911, claiming Jacoby was missing, police said.

Police arrested Smith on a charge of open murder the next day. She also faces a charge of child abuse resulting in substantial bodily harm. Jacoby’s father, Jacoby Robinson Sr., 24, also faces an open murder charge.

Jacoby Robinson Jr. (Jalisia Robinson/KLAS)

Jacoby and his twin brother were born in July 2021, records said. Smith gave birth to a third child last fall. It was unclear from court documents if the infant was also removed from Smith’s custody at any time.

The parents share five children, including Jacoby, records said. The Clark County Department of Family Service recorded three prior contacts with the family.

The first referral, dated 2019, was coded as “information only.” The second, also in 2019, involved a report alleging neglect with the allegations later found substantiated. The case later turned into supervision for two children. In 2022, a court terminated the case as “permanency goals” were achieved. Family members told 8 News Now the children moved in with relatives out of state.

In October 2022, the department again received a report of neglect. Jacoby and another child “were deemed to be in need of protection,” documents said. Smith was reunified with her children in April when the court terminated all of the department’s custody and closed the case on May 14, records said. Child services provided Smith with an “in-home safety plan,” records said.

Police located Jacoby’s body inside the dumper less than five hours after Smith called 911. Police said the boy’s body showed “significant signs of physical injury to [his] head, torso and buttocks,” documents said.

Detectives reviewed video surveillance from Smith’s apartment complex taken around 8 p.m., which showed Smith carrying one child, with two children, including Jacoby, in a stroller. Police note in a report that Jacoby was not moving in the video and suspect he was already deceased.

Police suspect Smith beat the twins with a belt and power cords, documents said. Smith denied ever hitting the children and said Jacoby had suffered a seizure the day before his death, documents said. She also said Jacoby was deceased while in the stroller in the video.

Police added they found matches in the stroller, suggesting Smith may have thought of burning her son’s body, they said.

In court earlier this month, prosecutors said Robinson allegedly admitted to being in Smith’s apartment at the time the child was beaten and whipped and may have encouraged it.

Prosecutors also alleged that Robinson was with the child after the beating and saw the child throwing up and helped Jacoby get vomit out of his mouth and nose before he went back to sleep.

A judge ordered both Robinson and Smith held without bail. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for July. The other children’s conditions were unknown, though officials said the young child was in the care of Child Protective Services.

Robinson and Smith denied the 8 News Now Investigators’ requests for interviews from jail.

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