Oakland police are asking for the public’s help as the search goes on for a 21-month-old girl who disappeared after her father says he briefly left the toddler in his SUV with his elderly mother.
John Webb has told police that he left little Daphne Webb in his SUV with his 87-year-old mother — who suffers from dementia — while he went into an East Oakland liquor store to buy an energy drink around 11 a.m. last Wednesday.
The 49-year-old Webb says when he came out of the store, his daughter was gone.
Webb later told reporters:
“The car seat was pulled over the back door was open. My mom’s purse was gone.”
After the little girl’s disappearance a massive search was mounted, with officers going door-to-door throughout the neighborhood and a helicopter searching from above.
Contra Costa County search and rescue teams, BART police and officers from the Oakland Housing Authority also helped looked for Daphne.
In later searches, police with cadaver dogs scoured a nearby waterfront park, while investigators also conducted a search of Webb’s home.
The day after his daughter disappeared, Webb was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment. He was released from jail Friday evening when prosecutors declined to file charges.
After he walked out of jail, Webb told reporters:
“My daughter’s missing and I have to live with that. Even though I’m out of jail I’m still not free from what I feel.”
On Monday, investigators released a new photo of Daphne and the father’s SUV. They’re asking for help from any witnesses who may have seen Webb’s SUV and his daughter before she disappeared.
The California Highway Patrol also updated its “Amber Alert” saying a “light skinned, black female” is considered a suspect in the case.
When last seen, Daphne was last seen wearing orange two-piece pajamas with pink hearts.