Hugging his granddaughters, tinkering with his beloved motorbikes and smiling alongside his daughters, this intimate collection of photos shows the softer side of Dog’s Most Wanted star David Robinson, who died aged 50 last week.
But the cheerful photos bely a tragic family breakdown that left Robinson and his two daughters estranged for the last 18 months of his life – the result, they say, of problems caused by second wife Brooke, 46.
His daughters say Brooke went out of her way to eject them from their adopted father’s life – and has now banned their mother Rainy, 62 – Robinson’s ex-wife of 28 years – from his funeral following a fight that began when Rainy announced Robinson’s death on Facebook.
Eldest daughter Mercedes Robinson Sutton, 37, who is speaking for the first time in an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, said Brooke had even raged at her while Robinson lay dead on the floor of their Lodi, California, home – furious after seeing the social media post.
Dog’s Most Wanted star David Robinson’s eldest daughter Mercedes Robinson Sutton claims her mother – Robinson’s first wife Rainy – has been banned from his funeral
David Robinson (encircled in red) starred alongside Dog the Bounty Hunter in Dog’s Most Wanted which aired on WGN back in 2019. He tragically passed away on November 30 after suddenly collapsing at his home during a work call
Mercedes, whose mother Rainy (pictured together left) was married to Robinson for 28 years, claims her adoptive father’s new wife Brooke (right) drove a wedge between Robinson and his family
Mercedes, a mother-of-three, also told how she had asked Brooke to place her cellphone next to her father’s ear so she could say goodbye – but was refused and says her stepmother ‘robbed’ her of getting to say one last thing to the man who raised her.
‘When I talked to her as she was lying next to his dead body, I cried and I asked her to Facetime me so I could see him,’ she told DailyMail.com.
‘She said: “no, I’m not going to do that to you”. I said OK and asked her for a picture. She said: “no, I’m not going to do that to you”.’
‘She told me she was holding his hand – I said, send me a picture of your hands. I never got it. An hour later, I called and said, is he still there with you?
‘She said: “yes, they haven’t picked him up yet”. I asked her to put the phone up to his ear so I could say some things.
‘She said: “I can’t do this, I can’t do this”, and hung up the phone. I never got to see my dad – I knew he was going to be cremated.
‘They were going to send him to the morgue before he was cremated and I knew that was the last chance to see my dad. She robbed that from me.’
To add insult to injury, Brooke – enraged after Rainy announced Robinson’s death on Facebook – then called Mercedes a further two times to say she was banning her mother from the funeral and demanding she take the post down.
Mercedes said: ‘She called me two more times the day he died to call my mom to tell her to take things down from social media because she wasn’t ready to announce it yet and people were calling her because of my mom.
‘Asking my mom to do X, Y, and Z and then tell my mom she’s not welcome at the funeral after what she did.
‘She wanted me to tell my mom that on the day her husband died. Not graceful, not respectful, and extremely self-centered.
Brooke announced his death in a statement saying: ‘David was very healthy and was on a work call in our dining room at home when he collapsed. Life-saving maneuvers were attempted and paramedics were called. David died in my arms’
Brooke (pictured) and David went public with their romance in September 2020 – but Rainy’s daughters claim their adoptive father’s new wife then went out of her way to eject them from his life
According to Mercedes, Brooke was so furious that they had announced David’s death on Facebook that she demanded the post be taken down and then banned Rainy from the funeral
‘She’s probably the most self-centered person in the world.’
Brooke later released her own statement on social media announcing Robinson’s death.
She revealed the reality star was ‘on a work call in our dining room when he collapsed.’
‘Live saving maneuvers were attempted and paramedics were called. David died in my arms,’ she added.
Details for the funeral service are yet to be announced.
Mercedes, who now lives in Washington State, is not Robinson’s biological daughter but was adopted by him after he married her mother in 1995.
She told DailyMail.com of the man she called ‘Pops’ love of motorbikes and told how she would travel to races with him as a child.
She also remembered a loving father who helped her purchase a dress for her middle school prom and was completely soft with her, Rainy and her younger sister Royce, 34.
Mercedes said: ‘I would travel around the state with him, weekend after weekend and go to all these races with him.
‘There were times when I’d watch him crash at 200mph and my whole life, I thought he’d die on a race track – I didn’t think he would die in his kitchen.
‘This is a guy who went 240mph every weekend. Those are probably my fondest memories – before my adulthood, before I moved out.
‘I was with him all the time. I was in the garage with him, I was on the racetrack with him, I was always I wanted to be like him so much – he was my idol. I was a real daddy’s girl. 100 per cent.
‘Anything he said was like God talking – anything he said went and it must be right because he said it.
‘For my middle school dance, he took me to get my first dress and first heels – he had to approve it so he took me to the mall to go shopping – all the typical dad things.’
Mercedes, who now lives in Washington State, is not Robinson’s biological daughter but was adopted by him after he married her mother in 1995
The 37-year-old, pictured with her mother Rainy, her daughter, and Robinson, spoke fondly of the man she called ‘Pops’, remembering his love of motorbikes and how she would travel to races with him as a child
Mercedes said she remained close to her father after she moved out and got married, and that Robinson even cut the umbilical cord when her eldest daughter Miley Grace, now 15, was born. He is pictured above with his grandchildren
Mercedes said she remained close to her father after she moved out and married husband Christopher, 43, with Robinson even cutting the cord when her eldest daughter Miley Grace, now 15, was born.
Her younger daughters, Layla Faith, 11, and Scarlett Rose, five, also adored their grandfather with photo after photo showing the three girls playing with a smiling Robinson.
But all that changed after second wife Brooke Taylor came into his life.
Although Brooke has always denied having an affair with Robinson – saying he had already split from Rainy when they went public with their romance in September 2020 – his daughters and ex-wife say otherwise.
Mercedes says she was initially willing to accept her – telling DailyMail.com she told her father that their relationship was separate from her parents’ marriage.
She said: ‘It was all whispers. He didn’t tell me until August 2020 when he was talking about leaving my mom.
‘I was like, OK, you’re my dad, I support you. It was never about, I’m mad because you don’t want to be with my mom.
‘I said, you do what you need to do – your marriage is separate from our relationship. It will never change. If you’re happier divorced then do it.
‘I actually didn’t find out [about Brooke] until he moved out. He said he kept it from me because he didn’t want to hurt me or for me to be in the middle – he knew he had been cheating on my mom and it was going to hurt me.
‘That was his way of protecting me. He kept us in the dark and never formally announced it.’
Insult was added to injury when Brooke sent both sisters ‘save the date’ magnets announcing her engagement to their father – just a few months after he ended his marriage to their mother.
But the final straw for Mercedes came shortly after the couple moved to Lodi – the California wine town she then called home – and a dispute blew up between Brooke and Mercedes’s three daughters during a visit to their grandfather.
Duane ‘Dog The Bounty Hunter’ Chapman paid an emotional tribute to former co-star David Robinson after his tragic death aged 50 on Wednesday – David is seen here with Duane and Dr. Mehmet Oz
Robinson – who starred alongside Chapman in Dog’s Most Wanted – was on a work Zoom call when he collapsed in his dining room and died in his wife’s arms
Interesting: The series had a different premise than Dog’s other shows as it centered around hunting fugitives rather than people who had jumped bail with his company
She said: ‘The last 18 months or so, he and I didn’t really talk – it had a lot to do with his wife and some things that had happened between his wife and my children.
‘My children coming back from a visit with them crying, me addressing my dad and saying, “hey, what’s the deal?”
‘On all my kids’ crib cards, when they were born, it said ‘Baby Girl Robinson’ – even though I was married.
‘It didn’t matter. They were his girls. He cut my eldest daughter’s umbilical cord. They were his girls.
‘I called him and said, “hey, why did my girls come back saying they never want to go back to your house so long as Brooke is there?”
‘He said: “well, you know, there was a little bit of a thing”. I came to find out, Brooke had screamed at my daughter.
‘My middle child Layla comes home crying, my eldest one says she never wants to go back so long as Brooke is there. So, my husband reaches out [to Robinson] saying, this isn’t OK.
‘Then at the end of all of it, he ends up siding with Brooke. And Brooke is texting me, saying things like, he’ll always take my side.
‘Very aggressive and territorial, and disrespectful. Any other life he had, like 28 years before her, it didn’t matter because she was more important because she was in there now.
‘She and I went through a day or two where we went back and forth, then I blocked her and cut her off because it was getting to the point where she was so irate and so out of control with her words that it was just abusive.
‘There was no reconciliation coming, my dad wasn’t going to fix it and so there was nothing for me to do but protect my children.’
Mercedes says she was initially willing to accept her – telling DailyMail.com she told her father that their relationship was separate from her parents’ marriage
Mercedes said her three daughters also adored their grandfather with photo after photo showing the three girls playing with a smiling Robinson
David and ex-wife Rainy are pictured. Mercedes said she is now planning a separate memorial service for Robinson that her mother will be able to attend
Nevertheless, Mercedes says she always believed she would reconcile with her father one day – even after he married Brooke in May.
She also says her husband repeatedly reached out to Robinson and invited him to stay with them at their new home in Washington, but was rebuffed after he made it clear that the invitation did not include Brooke.
Now, Mercedes says she has been left heartbroken by her father’s death – and the loss of the reconciliation which she hoped would come.
She told DailyMail.com that she found out after Brooke called Rainy using David’s phone shortly after he collapsed clutching his chest.
Although Brooke has said it wasn’t a heart attack or a stroke, Mercedes said he suffered from high blood pressure and was a former smoker.
Nonetheless, she says she doesn’t expect answers until toxicology and other tests are completed by the coroner with results expected in around a month.
Despite the tumultuous events of the past 18 months, Mercedes says she will always love her father and will forever be ‘Pops’ little girl’.
She said: ‘I will love him until the day I die. He’s my dad and I will be forever Pops’ little girl.’
But she is scathing of her stepmother’s response to his death and of the role she played in keeping them apart, and is now planning a separate memorial service for Robinson that her mother will be able to attend.
Robinson – who starred alongside Chapman in Dog’s Most Wanted – was on a work Zoom call when he collapsed in his dining room and died in his wife’s arms in Stockton, California
Mercedes said: ‘I just wanted to see his body because I knew he was going to be cremated and I knew that was always his wish.
‘She robbed me of that because she couldn’t fathom… I said, don’t even send me the picture because I can see that could be morbid and she doesn’t want to hurt me…
‘But put the damn phone up to his ear. That’s all you have to do. So I can say something to him without you being in the middle. But she had to be in the middle.
‘It didn’t have to be this way. I’m a pretty cordial person. She’s aligned me with my mom for a while in terms of their squabbling and disagreements so I can see how she would feel defensive or afraid or whatever.
‘There are boundaries within every relationship and you don’t have to go above and beyond to put a wedge between me and my dad.
‘She was really good at that so bravo to her. I hope she lives with what has transpired for the rest of her life.’