New details released by police shed more light on the car crash related to the disappearance of Daniel Robinson, the 24-year-old geologist who went missing after leaving a work site in the Arizona desert over the summer.
The Jeep Renegade belonging to Robinson, who was reported missing on June 23 by his father, apparently sped up immediately before it crashed in a ravine in a desert area, the Buckeye Police Department in Arizona said Wednesday. The acceleration right before the crash could “indicate an attempt to drive up the other side of the ravine,” the police said, citing a collision report from San Tan Recon, a collision reconstruction and consultation company.
Robinson’s SUV was found on July 19, less than three miles away from the work site where he was last seen, police said. A pile of his clothing and belongings was discovered nearby, Robinson’s family said.
The report also showed that more than 40 ignition cycles were recorded following the crash, which could indicate attempts to restart the car or use of the electric system, the police department said, noting that it’s not clear how many of those cycles occurred during tow recovery and when investigators downloaded data.
There was an 11-mile discrepancy between the crash data report and the displayed odometer reading, which “is not considered unusual,” the report said.
“Similar discrepancies have been noted by Jeep dealership service departments and other crash reconstructionists,” the report said.
Still, questions remain regarding how Robinson went missing, prompting his family to hire an independent investigator and form a volunteer search team after his father said he believed police weren’t making progress in his son’s disappearance.
“Once Daniel became missing, we realized that, I think, the quick action wasn’t there quick enough,” his father, David Robinson, told CNN in September. “That caused me to have to do my own searching.”
David Robinson has said the amount of news coverage his Black son’s disappearance has received is “hurtful” when compared to that of Gabby Petito’s case — a White woman whose story become a national obsession for many when she went missing, spurring digital detectives to comb through her online trail to try to solve the case.
The story underscored the tens of thousands of missing persons stories that do not garner such intense interest. There were nearly 90,000 active missing person cases as of the end of 2020, according to the National Crime Information Center.
“You wish you lived in a world where everything was equal, but it’s really not equal,” Robinson previously told CNN, adding that he sympathized with Petito’s family.
‘We just want answers,’ brother says
Speaking to CNN in September, Daniel’s brother, Roger Cawley-Robinson, echoed his father’s sentiments.
“It just saddens me that it takes this much, you know, to get people’s story out like my brother or anyone else,” he said. “We shouldn’t have to depend on other stories or other cases to push our own story. And we just want answers, just like anyone else.
“I think my brother, or everyone else’s brother or father, siblings, whoever they may be, they deserve the same attention,” he said.
Roger Cawley-Robinson also said he believes police were not quick to act when Daniel was reported missing.
“I think my sister that lives in Arizona and my father did a lot in the beginning trying to push and get things moving, pleading with the police, you know, begging for them, ‘hey, can you help get a search, can we do an air search, can we get something,'” Cawley-Robinson told CNN.
Buckeye police assistant chief Bob Sanders told CNN in September that his officers have “covered all of our bases” in the search for Daniel Robinson.
Sanders said the department had followed up on every lead, interviewed co-workers, friends and relatives, and reviewed all evidence — adding that the investigation is ongoing.
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