On October 6, 2019, Daphne Westbrook told her mother she was going to walk one of her dogs. She never returned home and a few days later her car was found parked at the entrance to a nature trail near her father’s home.
Her parents had divorced 8 years earlier in 2011 and in 2016 her mom, Rhona Curtsinger, petitioned for custody. In August 2019 the Hamilton County, TN court ruled that Rhona would have primary custody of 16-year-old Daphne and her father, John Westbrook, would be ordered to pay child support but would also receive unsupervised visits every other weekend.
After being reported missing, Daphne called her mother to tell her “I’m not missing”. A week later she called again but refused to say where she was or when she was coming home. Her mom thought she sounded “strange” on the call.
It is believed that because he did not want to pay child support, John Westbrook instead kidnapped his daughter and left Tennessee. People close to the family, and witnesses who have seen the father and daughter since October 6 say that John is keeping Daphne drunk or drugged most of the time. According to District Attorney General Neal Pinkston, “he would give her 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.”
Daphne has messaged friends as recently as February 2021 that she is suicidal, though it is believed she does not regularly have access to her phone. She has previously been treated for mental health problems including suicidal ideation. In addition to her father committing a crime by kidnapping her, her loved ones want to see her safe at home so that she can receive medical care. Daphne also dreamed of graduating high school in 2021, she was on track to get her high school diploma and associate’s degree. Though the two have been spotted numerous times, John Westbrook is still currently on the run with his daughter.
While investigating the kidnapping, police found that John was more than capable of starting a new life for himself and his daughter on the run. He was a bitcoin investor and expert in cybersecurity. His movements have proved difficult for police to trace. John Westbrook is still working. He takes freelance cybersecurity jobs he can do from anywhere and is paid in bitcoin. Because of this, police are unable to track where John is, shut off his access to money, or find him to bring Daphne home. John uses up to 10 aliases to keep from being tracked.
Daphne and her father have been spotted in an extremely distinctive vehicle. They are traveling with Daphne’s two dogs, Fern and Strawberry. In late 2020, John picked Strawberry up from an animal shelter in New Mexico where she had been taken after being found wandering around.
If you see Daphne Westbrook or John Westbrook, or have information about their relationship or disappearance, call 423-209-7415 or 1-800-TBI-FIND, or email TipsToTBI@tn.gov or FindingDaphne@hcdatn.org.
— Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (@TBInvestigation) March 10, 2021
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
Daphne Westbrook is 5′3″, 110 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes. There is a warrant out for John Westbrook’s arrest for custodial interference, aggravated kidnapping, and flagrant nonsupport. Please use the contact information above if you have any information about Daphne or John Westbrook.