OAKLAND -- The grandfather of a missing 21-month-old Oakland girl said Wednesday that the father's account of the child's alleged disappearance five weeks ago is "fishy."
Daphne Viola Webb was reported missing by her father, John Anthony Webb, on the morning of July 10. John Webb, 49, told police the child disappeared after he left her with his elderly mother, who suffers from dementia, in his car while he made a quick purchase at a convenience store at 79th Avenue and International Boulevard in East Oakland.
At first, the child's mother, Kiana Davis-Webb, 31, and her large extended family publicly stood by Webb and his story. That changed Wednesday, during a "love walk" organized to keep the public's eye on
"I've had complete strangers tell me they don't buy the story," said the child's maternal grandfather, Kevin Davis. "I know no one is buying the story.
"I believe there is more to this than meets the eye. Obviously there is something fishy and I'm going to leave it to that."
Webb, 49, told police that he left the girl in the back seat of his black Ford Explorer with his 87-year-old mother -- who has dementia -- when he went into Gazzali's liquor store about 11 a.m. to buy an energy drink and talk briefly on his cellphone.
When he returned, Webb said the child was gone and the woman's purse was missing. During the past five weeks, police and search dogs have spent dozens of hours combing neighborhoods, parks and waterways for the child or her body.
One day after the child was reported missing, Webb was arrested on suspicion of felony child endangerment; he was released a day later when prosecutors declined to file charges.
Davis, 53, said the family invited the baby's father to Wednesday's "love walk" from the Oakland Police Department to the steps of Oakland City Hall, but he did not attend and was not available for comment Wednesday.
Investigators have also questioned Webb's account of what happened when they asked anyone who saw him with the child in the 30 days before July 10 to come forward. Police have not reported speaking with any witnesses.
Davis-Webb said the walk was held Wednesday to keep the story in the public's eye and keep pressure on the police.
"It does feel (that the investigation) is at a standstill," she said. "That is why we are trying to come out and do what we can (to keep the story alive)."
Davis-Webb, visibly pregnant and wiping away tears, said she appreciates the community support -- about a dozen members of the public joined the walk Wednesday -- but wants answers about her missing child.
"We don't know if she is alive, if someone has her," she said. "We just don't know."
Police said the investigation is still "very active" said police spokeswoman Officer Johnna Watson. "Investigators continue to move forward and are following up leads. We are asking anyone in the community who has any information (on the case) to contact the Oakland Police Department, no matter how small they think it may be," said Watson.
Family members said they are hoping for the best but are prepared for the worst.
"I've had one police officer tell me it usually doesn't turn out well," Davis-Webb said. "We really hope it will, but you don't know."
Neither John Webb nor Davis-Webb have ever been named as suspects in the missing persons case. Police have described only one suspect: an unidentified black or Hispanic woman between 30 and 40 years old who had long, straight black hair and was wearing a light-colored shirt and blue jeans. At least two people said they saw the woman with a child matching the girl's description and also wearing pink socks.
Daphne is black, about 2 feet tall and weighs about 30 pounds. She has short, black, curly hair, a medium complexion, brown eyes and is missing part of her left ear. She was last seen wearing an orange, two-piece pajama set with pink hearts and pink socks.
Supporters have set up a website, www.findbabydaphne.com, for updates on the case.
Anyone with information about the case or who has seen Daphne is asked to call the Oakland Police Department missing persons unit at 510-238-3641.