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Father travels cross-country to search for son Daniel Robinson missing from Arizona job site since June

24-year-old Daniel Robinson was last seen driving his blue 2017 Jeep Renegade west into the desert on June 23, 2021.
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In July 2022, Dateline NBC launched a new podcast series called Dateline: Missing in America. Daniel Robinson’s case was featured in episode 1 with correspondent Josh Mankiewicz reporting on his disappearance.

It’s available now:

Click here to follow and listen to Dateline: Missing In America wherever you find your podcasts.


Editor's Note:

The Buckeye Police Department released new information Monday regarding the disappearance of Daniel Robinson. His Jeep was discovered by a rancher in a ravine on his property about four miles southwest of the jobsite where Daniel was last seen. The Jeep appears to have rolled and landed on its side. Several of Daniel’s belongings were found at the scene, including clothes, his cell phone, wallet, and keys. Detectives conducted a ground search, but came up empty.


When David Robinson got the call that his son was missing, the worried father jumped in his car and drove some 2,000 miles from South Carolina to Arizona, hoping for a miracle.

“I thought I’d show up and he’d be right where he was supposed to be,” David told Dateline. “And I’d put my arms around him and hug him.”

But it’s been nearly three weeks since 24-year-old Daniel Robinson was last seen on June 23, 2021, and his father, along with others, are still in Arizona searching.

“I won’t give up,” David Robinson told Dateline. “I have to find my son.”

According to an updated press release issued by the Buckeye Police Department on Monday, Daniel Robinson was last seen driving a blue 2017 Jeep Renegade with Arizona license plate NLA2CMA away from his job site near Sun Valley Parkway and Cactus Road, heading west, further into the desert area.

Police added that Daniel did not tell anyone where he was going or why he was leaving and has not been heard from since. His father said they were notified of his disappearance by the company Daniel worked for.

After graduating from the College of Charleston in South Carolina in 2019, Daniel was hired as a field geologist for Matrix New World Engineering and moved to Phoenix. He oversees sites located in remote desert areas and often works in extreme conditions, and travels long distances to work on projects.

“He loves what he does,” Daniel’s father told Dateline. “He’s always loved the outdoors and hiking and examining rock formations.”

David added that the company Daniel works for has been very supportive of the family throughout the ordeal.

In a statement to NBC affiliate 12 News, Senior Vice President Dennis Petrocelli confirmed Daniel Robinson has worked for the company for the last two to three years.

"Daniel is an employee and we have been coordinating with the family to the best of our ability. Daniel has worked for us for two to three years as a field geologist and is a valued member of our team. We are very concerned."

In the days following Daniel’s disappearance, searches were conducted and officials checked hospitals around the area.

On July 9, the Arizona Civil Air Patrol assisted the Buckeye Police Department with an extensive search by air and land, according to the press release. Multiple CAP Aircraft were utilized and performed four searches of the area while ground crews assisted.

But there were no signs of Daniel or his vehicle.

Daniel Robinson and his father, David.
Daniel Robinson and his father, David.

Police said a ping was established on his cell phone but no location data was available due to the phone being off or out of range. It did not appear he'd made any calls or texts after leaving the site, police added.

Detectives learned from family, friends and co-workers that Daniel’s behavior in the days prior was not like himself at times but, as stated in the press release, there was “no indication that he wished to harm himself or leave the area.”

Daniel’s father told Dateline that he had spoken to his son just days before he disappeared and that he seemed like his usual happy self.

“He’s a very happy, smart guy,” he said. “He loves life and loves his job and has a lot of self-confidence. So this is very unlike him. Very out of character.”

David pointed out that one of Daniel’s identifying features is that he doesn’t have a right arm from the forearm down. He told Dateline Daniel was born this way, and that it’s never slowed his son down.

“He wasn’t raised that way,” David said. “Some people think of it as a disability. But it just makes him unique. And he never let it stop him from achieving his dreams.”

Daniel’s family, which includes his father, mother, and siblings - some of who live in Arizona - have come together to let the public know to keep an eye out for Daniel.

They’ve created the website, “Please Help Find Daniel” for the public to contact them with any information that may lead to Daniel’s whereabouts. They are hoping to organize more searches, and ask anyone with experience - especially in the desert’s harsh conditions - to contact them directly.

Daniel’s father told Dateline he will not leave Arizona until he finds his son.

“That’s my son out there somewhere,” David said. “I’m not going anywhere until we find him.”

Daniel is described as being 5’8” tall and weighs about 165 lbs. He has black hair and brown eyes. Daniel is missing part of his right arm from the forearm down.

Anyone with information on Daniel’s whereabouts is asked to call the Buckeye Police at 623-349-6400.