California toddler reported kidnapped from parked SUV

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 11, 2013 3:07 PM

By Ronnie Cohen

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Police and FBI agents searched on Thursday for a San Francisco-area toddler whose father said she was kidnapped when he left her in his SUV to dash into a food market and returned to find the child gone.

The local NBC television affiliate reported Thursday morning that police had arrested the father, John Webb, on suspicion of child endangerment in connection with the disappearance of his 21-month-old daughter, Daphne Viola.

There was no official word on the circumstances behind the arrest, but a spokeswoman with the Alameda County Jail confirmed that Webb was in custody.

Webb, told investigators he left a disabled adult relative and his daughter in his sport utility vehicle while he ducked into an East Oakland store for a beverage at about 11 a.m. on Wednesday, police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said. When Webb returned to his vehicle, he said, the girl had vanished.

Watson said at least one witness reported seeing an unidentified woman carrying Daphne away from Webb's SUV.

About 12 hours after Daphne's reported disappearance, police asked that anyone who had seen the father and daughter together in the days or hours before the incident to contact them, and officers searched a park often frequented by Webb and Daphne.

Police said the girl was last seen wearing an orange, two-piece pajama set with pink hearts, and pink socks.

The NBC affiliate reported that police had searched Webb's Oakland home with dogs.

(Editing by Steve Gorman and Leslie Adler)