California toddler reported kidnapped from parent's car

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 12, 2013 12:44 AM

By Ronnie Cohen

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A father who said his toddler daughter was abducted from a car he left parked outside a California supermarket while he ran into the store was arrested for child endangerment as police pressed their search on Thursday for the missing girl.

The father, John Webb, 49, of Oakland, was jailed in lieu of $100,000 bond and was scheduled for arraignment on Friday in connection with the disappearance of his 21-month-old daughter, Daphne Viola Webb, authorities said.

Webb told investigators he left a disabled adult relative and his daughter in his sport utility vehicle while he dashed 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 told police, the girl had vanished. Watson said at least one witness reported seeing an unidentified woman carrying Daphne away from Webb's SUV.

Webb was not considered a suspect, Watson said. But she added that he was arrested because he left a 21-month-old girl in the car with his 87-year-old mother who suffers from dementia.

Meanwhile, police and FBI agents continued their search for the toddler, who was last seen wearing an orange, two-piece pajama set with pink hearts, and pink socks, authorities said.

Police asked that anyone who had seen the father and daughter together in the days or hours before the incident contact investigators, and officers searched a shoreline park often frequented by Webb and the girl.

The search continued into Thursday evening with dozens of officers, including homicide detectives and FBI agents, search-and-rescue dogs, a helicopter and a boat with an underwater camera, Watson said.

A local NBC television affiliate reported that police had searched Webb's Oakland home with dogs.

(Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis, Steve Gorman, Leslie Adler and Lisa Shumaker)