Nearly a year after the high-profile disappearance of his young daughter, the father of the still-missing toddler has taken his own life, family members say.
John Anthony Webb, 50 (pictured above left), had threatened to commit suicide for months after the disappearance of his daughter, Daphne Viola Webb, according to the girl's grandfather, Kevin Davis.
Daphne Viola Webb (pictured above right) was 21 months old when she was reported missing shortly after 11 AM on July 10, 2013. Her father told investigators that 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 Boulevard to buy an energy drink. When he came out minutes later, he said he found the back door open, Daphne's empty car seat askew, and his mother's purse missing.
At the time of the disappearance, Webb was briefly arrested on suspicion of child endangerment. He was released two days later when the district attorney’s office declined to file charges against him.
Daphne's mother, Kiana Webb-Davis, convened a press conference a week after the disappearance, saying that the child had not been seen by any of her closest relatives, with the presumable exception of her father, since June 27, 2013.
Daphne was solely in her father's care after a February, 2013 incident in which Kiana Webb-Davis was caught driving a car with Daphne inside after taking alcohol and Vicodin, according to court records.
Webb-Davis pleaded no contest to misdemeanor child endangerment and misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance, and had entered a rehab facility in May on 2013.
At the July 2013, press conference, Davis, who is Daphne's maternal grandfather, made a plea for "people [to come forward] who have seen the child in the past couple weeks," but that plea was unsuccessful, as Daphne remains missing to this day.
According to Davis, the family has had little contact with police investigators, and spoke to them last in August or September. The family 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 in a statement to media Monday. “I just feel like we should have been able to count on them a little more than we have been.”
A week after Daphne’s disappearance, her mother discovered that she was pregnant, and gave birth to Daphne’s sister, Dawn, in January of this year, Davis said.
Davis-Webb was planning on dropping Dawn off with John last Thursday but decided not to when he talked about killing himself again, Davis said. He was found dead the following day.
Family members still in shock over this second tragedy said that they thought that Webb was still just stricken with grief over Daphne’s disappearance and wouldn’t follow through with his threats, Davis said.
According to a website set up by the family, "The family's effort in finding Baby Daphne will never end until she is home. We still are as hopeful and committed as ever." A $20,000 reward for information leading to Daphne remains unclaimed.