OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The FBI announced Friday that it’s providing an additional $10,000 reward for missing 22-month-old Oakland girl Daphne Viola Webb, bringing the total reward to $20,000.
Daphne’s father, 49-year-old John Anthony Webb of Oakland, reported her missing shortly after 11 a.m. on July 10, telling police that she was abducted by a stranger shortly after 11 a.m. Wednesday while she sat in a parked car with his 87-year-old mother while he went inside the Gazzali’s Supermarket at 7838 International Blvd. to buy something.
FBI spokeswoman Julie Sohn said she hopes the increased reward prompts people to provide information about Daphne, saying, “Someone knows where Daphne is and we urge them to come forward.”
Sohn said, “We’re committed to bringing Daphne home.”
Joining Sohn at a news conference at Oakland police headquarters, police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said police and professional searchers will conduct “an extremely extensive search” for Daphne on Saturday.
Watson said police won’t announce the location of the search until Saturday morning, saying that if the site were revealed ahead of time “it could possibly jeopardize the search and we don’t want anything to be disturbed.”
She said only that the search will involve more than 50 police and professional searchers, it will be conducted on land in an open space area somewhere in Oakland and specialized equipment will be used.
Previous search locations have included the water by the Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline near Doolittle Drive and Swan Way, not far from the Oakland airport.
Watson said the search on Saturday is based on new information police have received.
“This case has never stopped and time is of the essence in searching for Daphne,” Watson said.
She said the primary focus of police is finding Daphne alive but they’re also looking into the possibility that foul play was involved.
Watson said, “We’re conducting two parallel investigations: we’re still treating this as a missing person case but the homicide unit also is investigating this in conjunction with the missing persons unit.”
Oakland police arrested John Webb on suspicion of felony child endangerment on July 10 because they were concerned that he left Daphne in the care of his mother, as she suffers from dementia.
But Webb was released from custody two days later after the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office said it was declining to file charges against him.
Watson said Friday that Webb remains a person of interest in the case but isn’t a suspect.
Daphne is described by police as black with short, curly black hair, a deformity in her left ear and as 2 feet tall and 30 pounds.
She was last seen wearing orange two-piece pajamas with pink hearts.
Daphne lived with her father and grandmother at a residence in the 800 block of Greenridge Drive, off Keller Avenue, in the Oak Knoll area of northeast Oakland, according to Watson.
Daphne’s mother lives at a separate location but has been cooperative with police and isn’t considered a suspect, Watson said.
“We are going to solve this case,” Watson vowed. “It’s just a matter of time.”
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