Backyard of Lisa Irwin's home is searched by Kansas City police

The Kansas City StarOctober 11, 2011 

A few hours after neighborhood kids left stuffed animals outside Lisa Irwin’s house on Monday, investigators returned to the home to search the backyard.

It was unclear what they were looking to find.

They also spent part of the afternoon inside a next-door neighbor’s house.

Also Monday, reports surfaced of a homeless man seen in the area in the weeks leading up to the possible kidnapping of the 10-month-old Irwin from her Kansas City, North home in the 3600 block of North Lister Avenue.

Norval C. Nichols, who lives about a block from Lisa’s home, said that police showed him a photograph last week of the homeless man and asked about any possible connection to the missing child. Nichols described the homeless man as being in his 20s, with brownish blond hair and a clean appearance. The man once was seen in the neighborhood riding a red bicycle, he said.

Nichols said he also saw the man about a week or two before Lisa was reported missing but not afterward. The two men spoke briefly at a nearby park weeks ago. The man told Nichols that he was looking for a job or any handy jobs in the neighborhood.

“He made me feel real uncomfortable,” Nichols said. “Something was not right, so I eased off from him.”

Nichols said he recognized the man when police showed him the photograph.

Capt. Steve Young, a police spokesman, said there were no major new developments in the case.

“We continue to track down leads and tips,” Young said. “Any interesting ideas that detectives think to try, we are probably going to try it.”

Lisa was reported missing Tuesday morning, after her father, an electrician, returned home from work about 4 a.m. and discovered she was gone from her bedroom.

Her mother, Deborah Bradley, last saw Lisa at 10:30 p.m. Monday sleeping in her crib.

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