October 26, 2021

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David Robinson wishes his missing son Daniel could get coverage equal to Gabby Petito’s

Daniel is a geologist. His car was discovered by a rancher on July 19, about three miles from Robinson’s workplace, with “significant damage,” according to Buckeye police. Daniel’s clothes, cellphone, wallet, and keys were found at the scene, but foul play was not suspected, given the state of the car.

David Robinson’s private investigator, Jeff McGrath, told NBC News-12 in Phoenix, Arizona, the scene “looked like a staged event. After the airbags came out, somebody turned that ignition over at least 46 more times,” he said. “There’s an additional 11 miles on the car so that tells me the car was driven around after the crash.” 

Daniel’s father has been fighting for more to be done to help find his missing son, and he’s placing the blame on local police and the media. 

Robinson told CNN that although he has empathy for Petito’s family, he wishes his son had as much national attention. “You wish you lived in a world where everything was equal, but it’s really not equal,” he said.

In an online petition, Robinson wrote:

“The Buckeye Police Department has done very little. Before the vehicle was found, they did two confirmed searches that included the area where my son was last seen and where my son’s vehicle would have been discovered in the future. Those two searches resulted in no findings of any kind. Since then, the public searches that I created have recovered about six human remains in the same areas that the Buckeye Police Department said they thoroughly searched for my son. With the coordination of my private investigator, my searches later recovered evidence that backs up the data taken from the vehicle’s black box.”


Whether it’s a lack of resources or interest (aka, racism), the reality is that 40% of people reported missing in 2020 (543,018) were people of color, according to the National Crime Information Center Missing Person and Unidentified Person statistics. 

The number of missing Black children is staggering. According to CNN.com, about 14% of U.S. children are Black, but Black kids make up about 37% of missing child cases. In 2020, 100,000 Black women and girls went missing, according to NPR. As for Native American women and children, resources are so lacking that we don’t have accurate numbers for how many are missing or murdered each year. Just in the area Gabby Petito’s remains were recovered, more than 700 Indigenous women have been reported missing. It’s an unchecked epidemic.

“When it comes to our Black and brown communities, and when it comes to children, they are oftentimes classified as runaways. Runaways are not receiving an AMBER Alert. There’s no sense of urgency to find the missing,” Derrica Wilson tells CBS station WUSA-9, in Washington D.C. Wilson is CEO of the Black and Missing Foundation, an organization that documents and brings awareness to missing Black people.

“When it comes to adults, men, and women who are Black and brown, their disappearance is often associated with some kind of criminal activity.”

Derrica Wilson, CEO of the Black and Missing Foundation

Robinson, who lives in South Carolina, wrote in his petition that he intends to stay in Arizona “until we have answers and bring Daniel home safely.”

Anyone with information relating to Robinson is urged to call Buckeye PD at 623-349-6400.

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