Family keeps hope alive for missing Oakland toddler

August 25, 2013 10:15:28 AM PDT
Authorities in the East Bay went on a specialized search Saturday after they received new information about a missing toddler. 22-month-old Daphne Webb was reported missing by her father in Oakland this July.

The family of toddler said a prayer before search teams headed out. Dozens of volunteers and their cadaver dogs combed the trails and open area around Oakland's Merritt College in hopes of finding the 22-month old girl.

Search and rescue volunteer Peg Thompson talked to us about the search process with the K-9 units, "If he found something he would sit at the source and I would go running up to see what was there and then I would call him away because it would be a crime scene, so we would want to preserve it as well as we could."

Daphne has been missing since July 10. Her father, John Webb, continues to be a person of interest in the case. He claims his daughter disappeared when he left her in the car with his 87-year-old mother.

Oakland police wouldn't say why they chose to search this spot, but they say they're as committed as ever to solving the case.

"With the investigative team that we have here in Oakland, I'm pretty confident that we're going to find out what happened to this baby," Sgt. Kevin Davis said.

There were moments of hope during the search.

Search and rescue teams found shovels and a pick they thought could be related to Daphne's disappearance.

Police even called in a helicopter to take aerial photos of the area.

But in the end, they came up empty.

Family members are holding out hope that Daphne may still be out there alive.

"On one hand I'm relieved," said Kevin Davis, Daphne's grandfather. "But on the other hand you know, we're still looking, still searching. We still want our baby back."

Oakland police say they plan to search one more area, but they won't say where or when just yet.

Previous searches for Daphne were held by the Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline near Doolittle Drive and Swan Way, near the Oakland airport.

Daphne is described by police as black with short, curly black hair and she has a deformity on her left ear. She is 2 feet tall and weighs 30 pounds. She was last seen wearing orange two-piece pajamas with pink hearts.

FBI officials announced Friday that a reward for information about the toddler's disappearance has grown to $20,000.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Oakland Police Department's Missing Persons Unit at (510) 238-3352 or 911.

(Bay City News contributed to this report)


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