Part 3 of a Series
Rigorous desert searches for a geologist, Daniel Robinson, who is still missing, has resulted in several remains found for unknown individuals.
By Dee Ford Byas
After a recent press conference, David Robinson II remains vigilant in his search for his missing son, Daniel.
The father met with local media and the public on Sunday, Sept. 26, imploring the Buckeye Police Department to step up efforts to locate his son who disappeared after leaving his work site three months ago in the area of Cactus Road and Sun Valley Parkway.
Community members joined Robinson in front of the Buckeye Police Department to demand for a “thorough investigation” regarding the disappearance of the 24-year-old geologist.
“The Buckeye Police department conducted three searches to find my son over three months. The first was on June 26, 2021; the second was on July 9, 2021, by the Civil Air Patrol, and the third was on July 19, 2021, the date that our son’s vehicle was found. To date, I know of no new searches performed by the Buckeye Police Department,” Robinson said to onlookers.
“When I spoke with the detective supervisor, I asked about cell phone pings, the GPS U-connect system in the car, and street cameras to pick up my son’s vehicle movements. I was told that each of these didn’t return any results.”
Stating a detective would get a warrant to detect ping locations from Sprint/T-Mobile and another to get detailed bank activities, Robinson said the request was canceled per the detective who reportedly advised that a “judge would deny their request since there’s no foul play.”
“I want to be clear, I’m not here to bash the Buckeye Police Department, but I’m here to state the facts as I know them,” Robinson added.
He described his missing son’s history of accomplishing anything he put his mind to, overcoming obstacles, not letting being born with one hand hinder him; and how his son did not allow adversity to stop him.
“That is why we can’t give up,” Robinson said.
The patriarch will resume the public/volunteer search for Daniel on Saturday, Oct. 2. Teams will be formed and instructions given to execute the search during briefings. Participants should assemble between 6:45-7 a.m. at the designated command center. Volunteers will be notified of the location for the command center via text and or email by Wednesday Sept. 29.
Following the press junkets, Robinson said he has received “more increase in people giving tips,” in addition to a growing amount of people assisting with the searches. From 20 to 30 people initially assisting, to millions who expressed interest in helping find Daniel, people near and far have united with efforts to join in on the search that has gained national attention.
“That’s a good number of people who want to come out to help,” Robinson noted.
Encouraging the Buckeye PD to upgrade the police search from a missing person investigation and use available evidence to “do their job,” Robinson continues to use the help of a private investigator, Jeffery McGrath, to get answers. He continues printing flyers and purchasing other materials needed to keep the public informed.
Meanwhile, the search for the missing son in the desert has also helped other families who have been searching for their missing loved ones as about five or six human remains were recovered in the areas probed. The remains were handed over to the Buckeye PD, which maintains its continued interests in helping to find Daniel as the case stays “open and active.”
Robinson has even started a petition to raise awareness about racial disparities that exist in searching for missing Black people. He detailed strenuous undertakings to look for other missing people, primarily white women whose families often get results and closure.
“We want to find our son. No family should have to go through hurdles to find answers or get closure to the pain of not knowing what happened to your loved one. Every case involving a missing person should be treated with the same care and urgency as the next.” Robinson said.
He cited the sorrow felt by all families experiencing the uncertainty of having a missed loved one.
“It is all the same. Sorrow, pain, and grief has no color. It is felt by all who are going through life never receiving an answer to what happened to the one that is a part of their life. Often and very often, people of color have to go through hurdles and do not receive the urgency that it takes to find their loved ones. As a result, they often go unheard even when we put our trust in the very ones sworn to serve and protect them,” said Robinson.
With a petition of more than 54,000 signatures from people seeking justice for his son, all the victims and families “whose voice is muffled by apathy,” supporters who Robinson said signed for the “unheard and the unknown” to change how law enforcement approaches a missing person’s report.
“They want to see every case of a missing person treated with urgent care, the same level of vigor and sweat every time. I pray that no family has to endure what my family has to take just to be heard and to have our missing person taken seriously,” Robinson said.
“But unfortunately, if a department lacks the resources and training needed to provide extra attention to a missing person, they must ask for help from outside sources.”
Describing his son as a beloved family member, coworker and scientist who is an American citizen, taxpayer, and contributor to society, Robinson, 51, said Daniel deserves to be treated “like the human that he is,” with dignity, respect, and urgency “to bring him back home.”
Offering condolences to other families experiencing the anguish of dealing with locating missing persons and loss, he recognized the Day Family whose son, Jelani, an Illinois State University graduate, was missing.
While going through “extended pain wondering where their son is,” the case of “another black man” did not receive the necessary urgency, stated Robinson of how “color plays a part” in how certain disappearances are taken.
He sent condolences to the Petito Family, whose daughter, Gabby, 22, was recently missing but unlike Black families going through similar plights, her family was able to have closure when her remains were recently recovered near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
“The standard of urgency used to locate Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie by law enforcement should be a template and model used to find and locate every missing person regardless of color,” Robinson said, describing a much different search initiative that entailed at least six agencies, including the FBI-devoted resources in the search.
“I’ve been pushing for three months to raise awareness because I’m not getting enough from the police department. I want the FBI involved,” said Robinson.
The retired Army sergeant, who uprooted his life from South Carolina to search for his son in Arizona, is accumulating debt from hotel and living expenses, but wants to keep looking until he gets answers while remaining “on the frontline for as long as I can to find out what happened to my son.”
Thanking God for all the help he has received, he appreciated everyone who has helped with search efforts and extended hospitality towards him. Robinson wants people to sign the petition at pleasehelpfinddaniel.com to “keep police accountable because the case is stagnant.”
To support, donate via Go Fund Me at gofund.me/925fb006.
Article originally published in the Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021 edition of the Arizona Informant.