Tennessee Bureau of Investigation official announced Tuesday that based on new evidence, a teen girl missing since 2019 may be in New Mexico.
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.
Security footage obtained by TBI appears to show John Westbrook in the Santa Fe, New Mexico, area in October. The photo was recently released after authorities issued an AMBER Alert for Daphne last month.
Authorities also released a photo of a 1971 Volkswagen Beetle last month that the pair could be traveling in, but security from Santa Fe in October showed John Westbrook driving a red sedan.
Daphne’s bible was found in a trash can outside Trader Joe’s off of West Cordova Road in Santa Fe, in February.
KEY #TNAMBERAlert Update: We have a new pictures of John Westbrook, the suspect in the kidnapping of Daphne Westbrook, along with a vehicle he may possibly be driving.
Both were taken in October in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The search continues.
Spot them? Call 1-800-TBI-FIND! pic.twitter.com/G7ncVzKl85
— Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (@TBInvestigation) March 29, 2021
Why Did the Abduction Happen?
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.
“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.
Pinkston added that prior to the kidnapping, John Westbrook would supply his daughter with “alcohol, marijuana, LSD, mushrooms.”
“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
In February, Daphne sent a message to her friend that indicated she was considering self-harm. After obtaining the message, Tennessee authorities issued a warrant for John Westbrook’s arrest on charges of aggravated kidnapping.
Earlier this month, 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 was said to have also been in the Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and Denver areas of Colorado, as well as Seattle and California.
“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]