Daniel Cornelius Robinson, 24, went missing on June 23, 2021, from Buckeye, Arizona.
Daniel was last seen leaving a job site near Sun Valley Parkway and Cactus Road in Buckeye. He was working for Matrix World as a hydrogeologist and was assigned to a project at a well in the desert.
Daniel spoke to one of his coworkers at approximately 9:00 a.m. when he arrived at the site. He had never met the person before. The coworker said that Daniel was speaking but was not making sense, such as asking the coworker to drive to Phoenix and rest.
About 15 minutes after arriving at work, Daniel left, neither saying where he was going nor why he was leaving. He turned left at the T-intersection, leading him further into the desert instead of turning right toward Phoenix.
Daniel's family said it was not normal for him to leave without telling anyone. They also stated that he had not acted like himself in the days before he vanished. He had been upset because he had developed feelings for an acquaintance who had rejected him. However, there were no indications that he wanted to harm himself or abandon his life.
Investigators talked to the woman he was in "love" with, and she stated she had only known him for 11 days, and he made her feel uncomfortable. She had ordered groceries via Instacart, and Daniel was the one who delivered her order. She and her friend were drunk, so they invited him in. The young woman said Daniel began appearing unannounced and acting "creepy."
She sent Daniel a text and asked him to stop visiting her home. His last text to her was, "The world can get better, but I will have to take all the time I can, or we can, whatever to name it. I'll either see you again or never see you again.
About a week and a half after disappearing, Daniel's 2017 Jeep Renegade was found nearly four miles southwest of the job site. It had rolled into a ravine and was sitting on its side. The airbags had deployed.
Investigators determined the driver had been wearing a seatbelt and accelerated right before impact. Accelerating might have been because the driver planned to try to drive up the other side of the ravine. There was no sign of Daniel in the vicinity of the wreck, but personal belongings were found, including his phone, wallet, keys, and all of his clothes. No blood was found at the scene.
Police do not suspect foul play, but several searches of the surrounding desert have turned up any leads. Daniel's father and Jeff McGrath, the private investigator he hired, believe someone staged the car wreck.
McGrath found that the Jeep's airbag control module showed the Jeep had been driven 11 miles, and the ignition turned 46 times after the airbags had been deployed.
Daniel's father, David, has been leading the search for his son. In May 2023, Buckeye police released additional information about their investigation. Data extraction on Daniel's phone revealed he had been at the crash site at 10:05 a.m. the morning he went missing.
Buckeye also revealed they consulted with the Phoenix FBI field office and worked with the Tempe Police Department to forensically process Daniel's electronic devices, including his iPad, home computers, and a work computer, but did not find anything that would reveal Daniel's whereabouts.
Daniel is still missing, but Buckeye police say the investigation is ongoing.
If you have any information about the disappearance of Daniel Robinson, please contact the Buckeye Police Department at 623-349-6411.
Missing geologist in Arizona.
Daniel's Jeep Renegade
Wrecked in the desert.
Missing geologist in Arizona.