The strange disappearance of Daniel Robinson from Buckeye in Arizona
DANIEL CORNELIUS ROBINSON, DISAPPEARED JUNE 23, 2021, NEAR BUCKEYE, ARIZONA.
The hydro-geologist, Daniel Robinson, was last seen by a fellow worker and pump technician, Ken Elliot, whilst assessing a remote drill site in the Arizona desert on June 23, 2021, around 9.15-9.30 am. It was located near Buckeye in Arizona, near Sun Valley Parkway and Cactus Road and it was Daniel’s second job of the day.
Soon after Daniel drove off into the desert and has not been seen since. His Jeep turned up around a month later containing his belongings, including his clothes, in an area previously searched and one of his boots was lodged under his vehicle. Investigations are ongoing to try and locate Robinson but the family and a private investigator believe there are troubling aspects to this case. Was it suicide, foul play, or misadventure in the Arizona desert? The search for Daniel continues.
Who is Daniel Robinson?
Daniel Robinson, 24, the youngest of four children, grew up in Columbia, South Carolina. He was a keen outdoorsman, musician and traveler who was always close with his family and remained in constant contact with his parents and siblings.
He graduated from the College of Charleston in 2019 with a major in archaeology. He then attended a course in Tucson and soon after was offered a job by the engineering firm Matrix New World.
Daniel was described as a 5’8 African-American man weighing 165 pounds with black hair, brown eyes. Part of his right forearm and hand were missing as a result of a birth defect.
The disappearance from the well site
Ken Elliott said Daniel was initially fine as they discussed the weather and the job. It was an abnormally cool day for the area and Ken had never met Robinson before and they were to work on a deep well. But within a short period, Robinson became distracted.
Elliott said, “He was just looking off into the desert; he had a very, very distant look in his eyes. Whenever he’d turn around again, I would look at him and look into his eyes – the first thing I thought was maybe it was drugs or something … [but] his pupils were not dilated. From that standpoint, everything appeared to be normal. Then I thought this was a medical condition or something. I wasn’t too sure. I kept watching him, but he just kept turning around and looking off into the desert. Then he just turned around and walked back over to his Jeep, and I just assumed he was going to get something out of his vehicle. And he opened the door, got in, sat down, put on his seatbelt, then he looked at me and just waved at me and backed up and took off.”
At that point, Robinson drove off in his blue Jeep Renegade. Elliott told his coworkers by phone about what had happened, assuming that Daniel wasn’t feeling well and would call in sick. However, no one heard from Daniel after that. He was reported missing to Buckeye Police Department the same day.
Elliott later followed Daniel’s Jeep tire tracks in the rain-soaked dirt road and found that instead of going left at a T-junction to return to Phoenix, Robinson turned right deeper into the Sonoran Desert.
The search was led by Buckeye Police Department, using UTVs, cadaver dogs, searchers on food and drones flying overhead, along with assistance in the air from Phoenix Firebird helicopters and civil air patrol.
While Tempe Police were dispatched to check Robinson’s apartment on June 24 they did not go inside. Police did not actually enter Robinson’s home until July 7, nearly two weeks after he was reported missing. Civil Air Patrol, which is comprised of volunteers who do air searches, was not contacted by police until July 7.
Family members traveled from the East Coast to Arizona to join the search, which covered an area of 70 square miles.
Detectives said they obtained a ping from Daniel’s phone, but were unable to track it due to the phone being off or out of range. After obtaining his call records, they learned that he has not made any calls or texts after leaving the job site. BPD Detectives along with Daniel’s family worked to obtain phone and financial information but did not locate any information which would aid in locating him.
His family, friends, and co-workers said that in the days prior to his disappearance, he was not like himself, but said, “there is no indication that he wished to harm himself or leave the area.”
Several mine shafts were searched in the area but there was no sign of Daniel.