Father of Missing Oakland Toddler Released From Jail

Little girl's father was released from jail Friday night and broke down in tears admitting he made a mistake leaving his child in the car

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    NEWSLETTERS

    John Webb broke down crying as he talked to reporters his missing daughter Daphne.

    The Alameda County District Attorney's Office has declined to file charges against an Oakland man whose 21-month-old child was reported missing Wednesday, prosecutors said.

    Daphne Viola Webb was reported missing Wednesday morning by her father, 49-year-old John Anthony Webb.

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    Webb, who was arrested Thursday on suspicion of felony child endangerment, was released Friday evening from Santa Rita Jail.

    He broke down in tears in an interview with NBC Bay Area after he was released.

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    Christie Smith has the latest on the search for 21-month-old Daphne Webb.

    "It's a mistake I have to live with for the rest of my life," he said regarding leaving his daughter in the vehicle.

    Webb said he believes the missing toddler is still alive and said he had been thinking about her every minute he had been in jail.

    Webb told police his daughter was abducted by a stranger at about 11 a.m. while she sat in a parked car with his 87-year-old mother while he went inside to buy something at the Gazza Supermarket at 7838 International Blvd.

    He had been held at Santa Rita Jail on $100,000 bail, but district attorney's office spokeswoman Teresa Drenick said today that no charges are being filed against him pending further investigation. Police have said they were concerned that Webb had left Daphne with her grandmother, who suffers from dementia.

    Police said they are looking into Webb's relationship with his daughter and other possible child endangerment incidents. Meanwhile, police are trying to understand where Daphne was last seen and where she is now.

    Police are treating Daphne's disappearance as both a missing person and kidnapping case and a child endangerment case and are conducting parallel investigations. Foul play has not been ruled out in the case, police said.  

    Daphne is described as a black girl with short, curly black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing orange two-piece pajamas with pink hearts and pink socks. Police are still seeking and treating as a suspect a woman who was described as being black or Hispanic and in her 30s with long black hair.

    She was wearing a light-colored top and blue jeans and was seen walking away from the area of the supermarket with a girl who looked like Daphne. However, no one has reported seeing Daphne get abducted, police said.

    Police are still trying to confirm the last time that Daphne was seen and establish a timeline for when she was last seen with her father. Daphne lives with her father and her grandmother at a residence in the 8000 block of Greenridge Drive, off of Keller Avenue, in the Oak Knoll area of northeast Oakland, according to police.

    There are many trails and parkways in that area that police are searching.

    Daphne's mother lives at a separate location, but investigators have been in contact with her and she has been cooperative and isn't considered to be a suspect, police said. Investigators in a boat used an underwater robot to search the water in the Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline on Thursday.

    The park is an area where Daphne was known to be frequently taken by Webb. Police are asking anyone who saw Webb with his daughter on Wednesday or another time recently to call (510) 238-3641.