The 24-year-old geologist was last seen June 2021 leaving his work site driving his Blue Jeep Renegade, His car was later found flipped over July 2021 two and a half miles away from his worksite with no traces of Robinson.
The continued questions that have surrounded this case have inspired the next wave of journalists at the University of Missouri to take a look at this case through the lens of a documentary, which is led by their professor Ron Stodghill.
YR Media talked to the students that are behind the making of this documentary. They had different reasons as to why this capstone project meant so much to each of them.
“What really drew me to it was that it hasn’t really been finalized yet,” said Lucy Caile who is a senior studying broadcast journalism. “I don’t feel like it has been told enough as you were saying earlier about Gabby Petito. We heard so much about her, so much, and the media was just infatuated with this missing white girl.”
This case not being finalized is also what drew in Brooke Muckerman who is also a senior studying journalism reporting and print.
“I know someone who’s going through a similar situation to this not nearly to the extent,” said Muckerman,“having the opportunity to talk to someone who I might not understand completely what’s going on but I can take it into my life and assist a friend.”
Muckerman said it is important for journalists to hold public officials accountable for when cases such as this do arise.
“There is a huge privilege as a journalist that you have to hold public figures accountable and you have the opportunity to ask questions and to demand answers from public officials,” Muckerman stressed.
While the central focus of this story is the search for Daniel, Olivia Gyapong, who is a sophomore working on this documentary as an independent study, was pulled into this story because of Daniel’s father.
“David, with his background being in the military, it’s a personal connection for me because my dad was in the military and he, also like David, served two tours: one in Iraq one in Afghanistan” said Japong “I know how badly being in the desert and being through war kind of messed up my dad’s mental health. I think I can see some similar signs of that within David so I empathize with him and I want to be able to tell his story.”
Gyapong added, “I think that covering the aftermath of war for vets and them being re-traumatized through this. Going through the whole PTSD cycle, not that I really want to diagnose David but just making connections to what I saw with my dad I’m really honored to be in that position as well.”
While this situation is surrounded by trauma and tragedy, Taylor Schmitt, who is a senior studying cross platform editing and producing, gave a perspective that shed more light on such a dark situation.
“While there is tragedy, there are light sides to the tragedy. The way the community has come together around David and the way he has shown so much love for his son I think that’s extraordinarily compelling,” said Schmitt.
Other students involved in the project are Cela Migan, Cole Schnell, Hannah Jiang, Rylee Fels and Kristin Kuchno.