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New Info Takes Search For Missing Oakland Toddler To Merritt College

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Daphne Viola Webb reported missing by her father on July 10, 2013. (Oakland Police Department)

Daphne Viola Webb (Oakland Police Department)

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OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A search crew was scouring the area near Oakland’s Merritt College Saturday hoping to find something that would lead investigators to the whereabouts of baby Daphne Webb who disappeared in July.

Oakland police Sgt. Mike Gantt told reporters at a morning news
conference at a mobile command unit set up the college, located at 12500 Campus Drive, that there is a two-pronged investigation in the search for 22-month-old Daphne Webb who was reported missing on July 10.

Daphne’s father, 49-year-old John Anthony Webb, of Oakland,
reported the baby missing shortly after 11 a.m. He told police that she was taken by a stranger while she was in a parked car with his 87-year-old mother while he was at the Gazza Supermarket at 7838 International Blvd. to buy
something.

Missing person investigators are looking into the case along with a homicide unit, Gantt said.

“We are pretty confident we are going to find out what happened to this baby,” Gantt said to reporters Saturday morning.

A 45-member search team from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office is working with six cadaver dogs and K-9 units and other search technology in parks near the college, according to Alameda County sheriff’s search and rescue unit Chief Ron Seitz.

Search team members are also looking at Joaquin Miller Park on the other side of Skyline Boulevard near the college, Seitz said.

The search is expected to end around 3 p.m., he said.

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

Police said Saturday’s search is based on new information police have received.

Webb was arrested by Oakland police in the days after the baby was reported missing, but he was released from custody when charges were dropped.

He remains a person of interest but is not a suspect, police said.

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.

Daphne lives with her father and grandmother in the 800 block of Greenridge Drive, off Keller Avenue, just south of Saturday’s search location, according to police.

Daphne’s mother lives elsewhere and is not considered a suspect, according to police.

A reward for information about Daphne’s disappearance has grown to $20,000, FBI officials announced Friday.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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