As Gabby Petito Case Gets News Coverage, Attention Urged For Missing Black Geologist Daniel Robinson

The 24-year-old has been missing for three months, but has not received the focus that Petito has over the past week.

While mainstream media outlets continue to focus coverage on Gabby Petito, the missing New York woman whose remains were found Sunday (Sept. 19) in Wyoming, many are asking why missing Black people don’t get the same amount of coverage.

News of authorities finding Petico’s remains prompted a tweet that went viral. It urged people to “please take 5 seconds to read about Daniel Robinson.” But the tweet is also the first many had heard about the case, despite it being three months old, as opposed to Petito who was reported missing Sept. 11.

Robinson, 24, is a field geologist who oversaw sites located in remote desert areas, according to the Arizona Republic. He was last seen on June 23 driving his 2017 blue Jeep Renegade from his work site in an area west of Sun Valley Parkway in Buckeye, Ariz.

A landowner discovered Robinson’s damaged vehicle in a ravine on July 19 approximately four miles southwest of the job site, the Buckeye Police Department said, according to the newspaper. His clothes, cellphone, wallet and keys were found at the scene.

He’s described as 5 feet, 8 inches tall with black hair and brown eyes. Robinson doesn’t have a right forearm or hand.

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Authorities said this is not a criminal investigation because they don’t suspect foul play. They also dismissed rumors that the human remains found in the area were Robinson’s. Searches were conducted by air and land. The department continued to analyze evidence and explore leads, a statement said, according to the Republic. 

Robinson’s family wants to hold the department’s feet to the fire and press investigators to conduct a thorough search.

Robinson’s father, David Robinson, started a petition about two weeks ago that demands police accountability. More than 17,000 people signed the document by Wednesday. He has also hired a private investigator.

“Since most of my family cannot be here to talk directly to the Buckeye Police Department, this petition gives them the ability to have their voices heard. Daniel's family will feel empowered knowing that they have the community's support and an agreed upon desire to see that everything is being done to find Daniel,” the petition states.

On Monday (Sept. 20), Joy Reid, the host of MSNBC’s The ReidOut brought attention to what she regarded as “missing white woman syndrome” on the show, questioning why missing Black people often do not get the same focus.

“The way this story captivated the nation has many wondering why not the same media attention when people of color go missing? Well, the answer actually has a name: Missing White Woman Syndrome, the term coined by the late and great Gwen Ifill to describe the media and public fascination with missing white women like Laci Peterson or Natalee Holloway while ignoring cases involving of people of color,” she said.

Robinson’s family launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to help in the search to locate him..

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Buckeye Police Department at (623) 349-6400.

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