Daniel Cornelius Robinson was born on January 14, 1997 into a loving family, which included his father, David; mother, Melissa; twin sisters, Davisha and Latisha; older brother, David; and his younger sister, Talia. They were incredibly close, especially he and his siblings, who helped him come to terms with being born without his lower right arm. Despite what others might think, he never let the disability slow him down.
According to those who knew him, Daniel was smart and happy guy. He had a passion for adventure, which showed in his love for life, and he enjoyed spending time with his friends and family. He also had a lot of self-confidence, which paired well with his outspoken nature.
In 2019, Daniel graduated from the College of Charleston in South Carolina. Not long after, he was hired as a field geologist with Matrix New World Engineering and moved to Phoenix, Arizona. He was charged with overseeing remote desert sites. His family says he loved the job, as it allowed him to do three things he loved: be outdoors, hike and examine various rock formations.
Daniel was last seen by his coworkers around 9:15am on June 23, 2021. He’d been working at a site near Sun Valley Parkway and Cactus Road, near the Hassayampa River and west of the White Tank Mountains, testing groundwater.
At some point, he got into his blue 2017 Jeep Renegade and drove away from the site. He didn’t tell anyone where he was going or why he was leaving. That evening, a missing persons report was filed. His father was notified by Matrix New World Engineering of the situation and drove 2,000 miles from South Carolina to start searching for his son.
Investigators with the Buckeye Police Department spoke with Daniel’s friends and family to gather information about him and where he may have gone. They learnt that in the lead to his disappearance, he’d been acting strange and seemed withdrawn, but his father shared that he’d seemed back to normal by the time he went missing.
Searches were conducted and local hospitals were checked. Phoenix Firebird participated in the search, as did patrol officers and detectives on 4×4 vehicles. On July 9, 2021, the Arizona Civil Air Patrol offered its assistance. Multiple C.A.P. aircraft were utilized, and four air searches were performed in conjunction with the ground effort. Unfortunately, no sign of Daniel or his vehicle were found.
Investigators obtained cellphone and financial information, but weren’t able to locate any information to aid in their search. They also tried to access information from his vehicle’s On-Star technology, but there was no power to it.
Flyers were put up on many of the gate entrances into the desert, just off Sun Valley Parkway. Officers at Buckeye Airport were also told to share information about Daniel’s disappearance with pilots, so they could keep a lookout during flights.
Police were able to establish a ping from Daniel’s cellphone, but were unable to obtain any location data because it was either turned off or out of range. They were able to collect limited records, but it appeared he hadn’t made any calls or sent any texts after leaving the worksite
The family has come together to help keep the case in the public eye. They’ve created a website dedicated to the search, and have organized their own searches. They’ve also set up a GoFundMe fundraiser to help raise money to hire a private investigator, print missing persons flyers, pay for hotel expenses, and help fund the continued search and rescue effort. Matrix New World Engineering has also shown support, and have publicly stated they are concerned for Daniel’s wellbeing.
Daniel’s Jeep was discovered by a cattle rancher on July 20, 2021. It was approximately four miles southwest of where he was last seen, and appeared to have rolled 20 feet down into a ravine. The airbags had been deployed, and it was determined via the vehicle’s “black box” type recorder that he’d been wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident. The driver’s side window was smashed and the front windshield cracked.
Several of his personal belongings were found at the scene, including his clothes, cellphone, wallet and keys. The clothes were found three feet from the vehicle, including his boots and safety vest. According to Daniel’s family, investigators didn’t conduct any forensic work on the Jeep, so they themselves have hired a team to analyze it. After they are finished, they will then look at his computer and cellphone.
Detectives conducted a ground search of the area surrounding the vehicle, with the aid of the Department of Public Safety’s Ranger helicopter, search and rescue dogs, and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, but came up empty.
The family has announced their personal investigation has moved from a missing persons to a criminal investigation. However, the Buckeye Police Department do not suspect foul play in Daniel’s disappearance, based on the information found in his Jeep. His father disagrees and has shared that he feels investigators are just looking to wrap the case up.
There is currently a $10,000 reward being offered by the family for information leading to Daniel’s return. His information has been added to a national database and disseminated all over the country, including to local law enforcement, the Bureau of Land Management, and Arizona Game and Fish.
CASE CONTACT INFORMATION:
Daniel Cornelius Robinson was last seen leaving a worksite near Sun Valley Parkway and Cactus Road in Buckeye, Maricopa County, Arizona on June 23, 2021. He was 24 years old, and what he was last wearing is unknown. At the time of his disappearance, he stood at 5’8″ and weighed between 150 and 165 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes, and he’s missing a portion of his right arm, starting at the forearm.
Currently, the case is classified as a missing persons investigation. If alive, Daniel would still be 24 years old.
Those with information regarding the case are asked to contact the Buckeye Police Department at 623-349-6400 or 623-523-0234. Tips can also be called in directly to his family ay 803-200-7994 or submitted anonymously via Crime Stoppers at 1-888-274-6372.
Image Credit: The Arizona Republic