New details are emerging in connection with a Tennessee girl who has been missing for nearly two years.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Daphne Westbrook, 17, of Chattanooga, disappeared in October 2019, along with her two dogs, Fern and Strawberry. According to police, Daphne’s father, John Oliver Westbrook, is accused of kidnapping his daughter after she went on a weekend visit with him, taking her pet dogs with her.
Since her disappearance, authorities said John Westbrook has made Daphne stop all communications with her family.
“I didn’t know that that was the last time I’d see her, when she said goodbye to just spend that weekend with her dad,” Daphne’s mother, Rhona Curtsinger, previously told the Santa Fe New Mexican.
Authorities said the incident happened after the court ruled through a custody arrangement that John Westbrook would have visitations with his daughter every other weekend, WKRN reports.
“Well in order to avoid that and avoid paying child support he just leaves with her,” Hamilton County District Attorney General Neil Pinkston said.
Pinkston added that prior to the kidnapping, John Westbrook would supply his daughter with “alcohol, marijuana, LSD, mushrooms.”
“And he’s now, we know from recent witness interviews, that she’s constantly drugged and/or drinking alcohol provided by him,” Pinkston said.
Pinkston said the suspect keeps Daphne ” in an altered state” to hold her against her will, adding that Daphne is currently experiencing suicidal thoughts.
“Our investigation has revealed that she is presently expressing some suicidal ideations. And she has not just presently but she has a past history of that as well,” Pinkston said.
Authorities said Daphne may be in danger both physically and mentally, and unable to communicate with the outside world. John Westbrook, according to investigators, is an expert in IT. His calls and other communications are reportedly nearly impossible to trace.
“He’s used approximately 10 aliases since he left,” Pinkston said. “He’s very adept at hiding his location, identity, and hers as well.”
“At one point in the trip he purchased hair dye and fake teeth so altered appearances. Bitcoin and block chain analysis are anonymous financial transactions that don’t involve banks. He also uses virtual and Voiceover ip telephone numbers so that you can’t rely on cellular telephone companies to provide location or GPS data.”
Daphne Leaves Secret Message, Florida Home Raided
Last month, Daphne sent a message to her friend that indicated she was considering self-harm, Fox 13 reports. After obtaining the message, Tennessee authorities issued a warrant for John Westbrook’s arrest on charges of aggravated kidnapping.
Over the weekend, Florida authorities raided a home in Sebring, Florida, where John Westbrook’s sister, Starla Westbrook, lives. Investigators said they have reason to believe the suspect and his sister have been in contact with one another.
Authorities confiscated all of the sister’s electronic devices and the FBI is scheduled to interview her. So far, according to police, Westbrook has been uncooperative.
KIRO 7 reports that John Westbrook has also been in contact with another sister, Krystalynn Westbrook Martin, who lives in the Auburn area of Washington state and works at Auburn Adventist Academy. Police said that although Martin is in frequent contact with her brother, she refused to work with investigators and refused interview requests by the U.S. Marshals Service.
John Westbrook spent a little over a month in Santa Fe, New Mexico, investigators said. Daphne’s bible was found in a trash can outside Trader Joe’s off of West Cordova Road in Santa Fe, in February.
He was said to have also been in the Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and Denver areas of Colorado, as well as Seattle, California, and Florida.
“Because of publicity in the Denver media market, he may seek refuge in Florida,” authorities previously said.
“Daphne has not been allowed to attend school or visit a doctor and is being deprived of medication,” investigators added. “She is increasingly at serious risk of physical and emotional danger and we need your help to find her.”
Meanwhile, Curtsinger pleaded during a video message for her daughter to understand that no one is angry with her.
“Please know that nobody is angry. You are so loved,” Curtsinger said. “It is not your fault you are in that situation. This is not her fault. I need her to be OK. I need that. I will do everything that I can to make sure that she is.”
Anyone with information should contact the Hamilton County, Tennessee DA’s office at 1-423-209-7425. You can also submit tips to FindingDaphne@hcdatn.org.
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[Feature Photo: Daphne Westbrook/Handout]