BUCKEYE, Ariz. (NewsNation Now) — More than two months before Gabby Petito’s disappearance became national news, a 24-year-old geologist disappeared in the vast Arizona desert.
Daniel Robinson was last seen on June 23 in Buckeye, Arizona. His Jeep was found crashed in a ravine a month later with most of his belongings still inside but no signs of him.
What is even more baffling is that the Jeep may not have crashed where it was discovered on its side in that ravine. A private investigator hired by the Robinson family says the airbags deployed 11 miles beforehand, and that somebody tried to restart the Jeep more than 40 times. Not only that, the investigator says damage to the Jeep does not match the terrain where the vehicle rolled over.
David Robinson, Daniel Robinson’s father, who moved to Arizona to try to put all these pieces together, says local authorities have not been forthright in providing information about his son.
“[The police] won’t share anything with us,” David Robinson said. “We just know that they have the data, all the evidence that my investigator gave to them.”
Daniel Robinson’s mother, Melissa Edmonds, who is in South Carolina, said she’s trying to stay as strong as possible for her son.
“I have a lot of support here in South Carolina. My husband, Stanley, has really helped me throughout this whole thing,” Edmonds said. “He’s helped me kind of family process. And it’s been one of the hardest moments of my life.”
The private investigator hired by the family also believes the Jeep was found just four miles away from Daniel Robinson’s worksite. Now, the family is wondering why the Jeep took a month to find.
“The Buckeye Police Department did their first initial search three days after my son went missing,” David Robinson said. “They tell me they did an extensive search for over 12 hours. They scoured the area out here — some good distance — and that that distance also covered those areas where the vehicle was eventually going to be found.”
There have been reports that Daniel Robinson may have been struggling with his mental health prior to his disappearance. His mother is uncomfortable with the speculation surrounding that idea.
“You cannot speak for someone and say you know a person until you’ve been around them long enough to say they’re having a problem,” Edmonds said. She said that during her last call with him, he sounded “rational.”
“We talked and I said when we always end with ‘I love you and we’ll talk later.’ Later on that night, Daniel called me again,” according to Edmonds. “And I was sleeping. And Daniel says, ‘Hello, mom. I’m just checking on you. And I want you to know I love you. And we will talk later.’ And that’s what I’m holding on to. If my son was rational enough to call me and tell me that he’s checking on me and that he will call to talk to me later … that’s what I’m holding on to.”
As for David Robinson, he doesn’t have a specific theory or suspicion of what happened to his son but he’s positive of one thing: He loved his family.
“One thing I do know is that my son loves his family. My son would not abandon his family,” David Robinson said.
If you have any information on Daniel Robinson’s whereabouts, please call the Buckeye Police Department tip line at (623) 349-6499 or click on pleasehelpfinddaniel.com.