The father of an Oakland toddler who went missing from his car last summer took his own life on Friday, the girl’s grandfather said today. John Anthony Webb, 50, had talked about committing suicide for months after the disappearance of his daughter, Daphne Webb, who was 22 months old when she went missing on July 10, Daphne’s maternal grandfather Kevin Davis said today. Family members thought that he was stricken with grief over Daphne’s disappearance and wouldn’t follow through, Davis said.
Daphne’s mother, Kiana Davis-Webb, was scheduled to bring over their newborn daughter Dawn Webb to John Webb’s house Thursday but decided not to when he talked about killing himself again, Davis said. He was found dead the next day. John Webb reported Daphne missing shortly after 11 a.m. on July 10. He said a stranger had abducted her after he left the girl in a car with his 87-year-old mother, who suffers from dementia, while he went into the Gazza Supermarket at 7838 International Blvd.
Police launched an extensive search for the girl but turned up nothing. Her father was briefly arrested on suspicion of child endangerment but he was released two days later when the district attorney’s office declined to file charges against him. Since then the family has had little contact with police investigators, and spoke to them last in August or September and has heard no new information about any possible leads or the state of the investigation, Davis said.
“I understand they are undermanned and overworked,” Davis said. “I just feel like we should have been able to count on them a little more than we have been.” Daphne’s mother pleaded no contest to misdemeanor child endangerment and misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance in April for operating a car with Daphne inside after taking alcohol and Vicodin in February, according to court records. She entered a rehab facility in May and while she was away her father took over primary care of Daphne, Davis said.
It was only a week after Daphne’s disappearance that her mother discovered she was pregnant with Dawn. She gave birth to Daphne’s sister in January, Davis said. With Daphne still missing and now coping with John Webb’s death, Kiana Davis-Webb has been put in “a very sensitive and delicate position,” Davis said, but “she’s been incredibly strong.” “We’re grateful for all the support that we’ve gotten around the Bay Area,” he said. A $20,000 reward was offered last summer for information leading to Daphne by Oakland police and the FBI. The family set up a website last summer at www.findbabydaphne.com to provide updated information on the search for the girl.
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