OAKLAND -- Thousands of motorists will see the face of a missing toddler on an electronic billboard on the side of one of the Bay Area's most traveled freeways.
As police continue to investigate what happened to Daphne Viola Webb, a 21-month-old Oakland girl who was reported missing on July 10 by her father, John Anthony Webb, investigators hope the extra exposure will push the case forward.
The lighted sign, with the child's face, birthday, and a police tip line phone number, sits outside O.co Coliseum and Oracle Arena along Interstate 880 in Oakland.
Wednesday ¿marked six weeks since Daphne was reported missing. Relatives have held candlelight vigils, a "love walk" and several news conferences in hopes of keeping the word of her disappearance in the news.
Relatives have set up a website, http://www.findbabydaphne.com, but did not return calls for comment Thursday. John Webb was also not available for comment.
Shortly after 11 a.m. on July 10, Webb, 49, told police his daughter disappeared after he left her with his elderly mother, who suffers from dementia, in his SUV while he made a quick purchase at a convenience store at 79th Avenue and International Boulevard in East Oakland.
Last week, during the walk from the Oakland Police Department to the steps of Oakland City Hall, Kevin Davis, the child's grandfather, said the story Webb told about what happened to the child does not seem believable.
"I've had complete strangers tell me they don't buy the story," Davis said last week. "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."
Soon after the disappearance, investigators asked anyone who had seen John Webb with the child in the 30 days before July 10 to come forward. Police have not reported speaking with any such witnesses.
The child was in the custody of Webb because the child's mother, Kiana Davis-Webb, 31, is in a drug rehabilitation center in Oakland. Police have not named either parent as a suspect.
Webb was arrested on July 11 on suspicion of felony child endangerment, but prosecutors declined to file charges, and he was released the following day.
Police have described only one suspect in the disappearance: 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 shortly after the reported disappearance.
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.
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.