Florida activates statewide Amber Alert after kidnapped Tennessee teen, father spotted in Panhandle
TAMPA, Fla. - Florida authorities have issued a statewide Amber Alert for a missing teenager from Tennessee, who had been kidnapped by her father back in 2019, after the pair was spotted in the Florida Panhandle.
Authorities in Tennessee said they received a credible sighting of 17-year-old Daphne Westbrook and her father, 42-year-old John Oliver Westbrook, who kidnapped her in October 2019.
The two were spotted in Fort Walton Beach, near Pensacola, on March 6 in a rusty, orange, 1971 Volkswagen Beetle -- a vehicle investigators said is owned by John Westbrook. The vehicle has no license plate or windshield.
Photos of John Westbrook's orange VW Beetle (courtesy: Hamilton County District Attorney's Office)
Authorities said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is working with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to activate Florida's Amber Alert system following the sighting.
According to the Hamilton County District Attorney’s Office, Daphne and her two dogs did not return home from a weekend trip with her father.
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Officials believe Daphne may have been drugged or otherwise subdued while in her father's care.
After the teen managed to send a secret message to a friend, investigators raided the Sebring home of John Westbrook's sister, who had been in communication with her brother. Authorities confiscated the sister's electronic devices.
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John Westbrook is 6 feet, 4 inches tall and is considered an expert in disguise. Authorities say he has shielded their phones from detection and uses cryptocurrency. Investigators believe he is keeping her drugged in order to control her.
Daphne is a 17-year-old white female with brown hair and brown eyes.
John Westbrook is wanted by Hamilton County Sheriff's Office for aggravated kidnapping and custodial interference.
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Authorities believe John may have traveled to the western United States with Daphne and has known contacts in Colorado, New Mexico, California, and Washington.
Anyone who has seen Daphne or John or has information on their whereabouts is asked to call 911, contact the Hamilton County District Attorney's Office at 423-209-7415, or call the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-TBI-FIND.