Six months later, no new clues in Baby Lisa Irwin case

The Kansas City StarApril 4, 2012 

Lisa Irwin’s bedroom looks about the same as it did six months ago, when the Northland toddler disappeared. Stuffed animals line her empty crib. Photos and other items adorn the walls.

Baby Lisa’s story became a national topic fueled by rumor and speculation. Though her parents have not planned a public vigil to mark the six-month point, they remain prayerful that their “Pumpkin Pie” someday will return to her room.

Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin say that someone broke into their North Lister Avenue home on a cool October night and snatched 10-month-old Lisa as she slept. They believe that whoever took her has either sold her or is raising the child as their own.

“It’s been tough, and they struggle with it,” said their local attorney John Picerno. “We are still actively searching for Lisa.”

Picerno did not allow Bradley or Irwin to be interviewed for this story but said the couple are cooperating with law enforcement authorities.

However, there are no new developments or clues, and the baby’s disappearance remains a mystery, authorities said.

Lisa no longer is the lead story of national early morning news shows or nighttime cable television newscasts. And the local and national media are no longer stationed in front the family’s home.

Picerno said the family has struggled to settle back into a normal routine without Baby Lisa.

Irwin has returned to his job as an electrician. Lisa’s half-brothers are back in school. And Bradley remains a stay-at-home mom who makes sure the household operates as smoothly as possible.

To occupy her time, Picerno said, Bradley has created a website aimed at finding Lisa or gathering clues to her disappearance.

As of Tuesday night, the website — http://findlisairwin.com — was closed for maintenance. It had contained numerous photos of Lisa with her piercing blue eyes and “golden blonde hair that sometimes in the light appears be auburn.”

“We will be adding new information in the coming days, and will be updating this site frequently so more people will know about our child and help us,” according to the website. “Baby Lisa is very near and dear to our hearts!”

It said Baby Lisa loves to dance and clap her hands. She can say Mama, Daddy and Bubba, the names for her half-brothers. She loves bananas, any kind of spaghetti and usually can’t sleep without her pacifier.

The site also pleaded to those who may have unknowingly seen Lisa with relatives.

“To the family of the abductors — ATTENTION! All new Grandparents, Aunts & Uncles — You may be holding our daughter in your arms!”

“The people who have our daughter LISA have been lying to you! If a new child 1- 11/2 yrs. old has entered your family after October 4, 2011 PLEASE TAKE A CLOSER LOOK!” the website said.

Picerno said Bradley has given investigators more than 100 pages of handwritten notes and other material that contain her recollections from the night Lisa vanished and details of who else had access to their home.

A $100,000 reward remains available to anyone with information that brings Lisa home. Her parents still are represented by New York attorney Joe Tacopina, and former New York policeman and private detective Bill Stanton continues to investigate the case.

But Kansas City Police Capt. Steve Young said tips and leads have slowed. Several detectives from the crimes against children unit continue their investigation.

“But they have other cases they have to work, so it is back to normal,” Young said.

Lisa’s case still is classified as a missing or abducted child. Young said at this point there is no evidence that Lisa has died.

At the height of the investigation, hundreds of local, county, state and federal law enforcement officers were involved. Teams searched for Lisa on horseback, on all-terrain vehicles and on foot, methodically scouring ravines, open fields, vacant lots, abandoned homes, a 40-foot well and the banks of the Missouri River. Police and the TIPS Hotline received more than 1,500 tips.

“The leads are certainly not what they used to be,” Young said. “The goal is to find out what happened and hopefully in the process, find the child.”

Young said detectives last met with the baby’s parents on Feb. 2, the day before their taped appearance on the Dr. Phil show. Detectives did not learn anything significant, he said.

Bradley has maintained that she had nothing to do with her daughter’s disappearance and has pleaded for her return. Bradley admitted that she had been drinking the night Lisa disappeared but has said she did nothing to harm the child.

Picerno said the parents have opened their home and have made themselves available to investigators.

“At this point, the police cannot be displeased,” he said. “They (the parents) haven’t been suspects, but they have never been cleared. There is no evidence that I am aware of that points to her (Bradley) in the remotest way of being involved.”

To read more, visit www.kansascity.com.

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