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Amber Alert: Missing Girl: Lisa Irwin - MO - 10/03/2011

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Missing baby Lisa Irwin: Parents hope fraudulent debit card charge leads to break in case

Posted: 9:33 AM Monday, May 21, 2012

More than seven months after the disappearance of then-10-month-old Lisa Irwin, her parents have revealed new information they hope can lead to a break in the case.

Jeremy Irwin and Deborah Bradley tell NBC News Jeremy’s debit card was stolen about a month after Lisa disappeared, and according to Jeremy, a fraudulent charge made on the account was to an overseas company that changes baby’s names for a small fee.

Kansas City Police tell NBC News they are investigating the $69.04 charge, but it appears to be nothing more than stolen card numbers.

Lisa Irwin was reported missing from her north Kansas City home in the early-morning hours of Oct. 4, 2011, when Jeremy returned home from an overnight shift at work.

Jeremy Irwin and Deborah Bradley say their door was unlocked, the lights were on in the house and Lisa’s crib was empty.

Searches for Lisa - highly-publicized in the days and weeks immediately after her disappearance, but which have since become few and far between – have focused on neighborhoods near the Irwin home, nearby woods and have even led to a landfill across the state line in Johnson County, Kansas.

Sitting alongside their attorney, Joe Tacopina, Jeremy Irwin and Deborah Bradley appeared Monday live on NBC’s “Today†show to talk about the latest could-be development in the case.

“I am a mess,†Deborah Bradley told Ann Curry. “I am frustrated. It has been almost 8 months and we’re not getting any answers.â€

Bradley said while she understands the police and FBI have jobs to do, the answers she has received about her daughter are unacceptable.

“We need answers,†she said. “ We need Lisa.â€

Jeremy Irwin says they first came across the fraudulent charge on his debit card in December, but it hasn’t led to any significant leads in the case.

During the interview, Ann Curry said an NBC producer looked at the charges on Jeremy Irwin’s credit card, and they appear to lead to a website for a stationery paper company.

“I don’t know why it takes you there now,†Jeremy Irwin responded, “but when we first found out about this in December, that’s where it used to go was the website where you can change someone’s name online.â€

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Family continues search for infant

Published: Sunday, June 24, 2012


UPPER CHICHESTER — Debbie Shanko thinks about her great-niece all of the time.

That’s not unusual.

And she’d love to see her.

That’s not too unusual either.

But the Delaware County native isn’t sure when that will happen. The problem is, her great-niece’s parents can’t be sure of when that will happen either.

Shanko’s great-niece is Lisa Renee Irwin, who was last seen at her Kansas City home at 6 p.m. Oct. 3, 2011.

Saturday on a baseball field behind the Upper Chichester Police Department, Shanko, along with Irwin’s cousins, Kim Pretti and Felicia Chivalette, released 300 balloons at 4 p.m. at the same time as family and friends in Rosharon, Texas, just south of Houston, and in Kansas City to bring attention to the situation.

“It’s something where you can go all through life and think it will never happen to you,” Shanko said. “Who would think someone would steal a baby out of crib in the middle of the night? No one ever thinks that it will happen to them.

“But it did and it’s a nightmare all the way around.”

According to family members, there were three witnesses that say a man was walking around Kansas City at around midnight on Oct. 3 holding a baby. However, the man was never found and consequently, neither has Lisa Irwin been found yet.

But the family is keeping hope. They received one clue when Lisa Irwin’s name was apparently changed on a birth certificate and recorded on an United Kingdom website. However, the site is no longer active and it’s not sure if the transaction would have taken place in the United States or somewhere else.

“Right now we are very hopeful,” Shanko said. “We are hoping by doing this we can get regional and national attention.”

About 75 people showed up for Saturday’s ceremony.

The ceremony included short speeches by Pretti and Chivalette. Part of Pretti’s speech included a statement from Lisa’s parents, Debbie Bradley and Jeremy Irwin.

“Everyday we wake up hoping it will be the day our Lisa comes home. With each day that passes, it gets harder to be without her. It’s been over eight months since we got to see her, hold her, kiss her and play with her. Our family is broken without her. We beg anyone that knows anything to please do the right thing with Lisa. She deserves to be with the people that love her the most, her family. We want to thank everyone for their support and coming together to help bring Lisa home.”

According to the website, there is a $100,000 reward for information that leads to her finding. There is also a facebook page at The number to call for any tips that may lead authorities to Lisa is 1-816-474-TIPS. Also, Lisa, who was born on Nov. 11 of 2010, has a birth mark on her right thigh.

And there’s no doubt Lisa’s family would love to see what she looks like now.

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Police Issue Statement Regarding Missing Baby Lisa

Posted on: 12:14 pm, September 28, 2012

updated on: 10:31pm, September 28, 2012

by Sarah Clark and Macradee Aegerter

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Nearly a year after Lisa Irwin, then 10 months old, was reported missing from her Kansas City, Mo., home, police issued a statement saying they “continue to actively investigate the case.â€

After much anticipation, and months of silence, the statement from police revealed little information. Police released no new suspect information or evidence regarding the whereabouts of the missing child.

In their statement, police said they have investigated 1,667 tips. They currently are investigating about a dozen leads.

The statement in part read, “Police have exhausted leads provided by Lisa Irwin’s family and their attorneys, and the leads were of no benefit to the investigation. While communication with the family has been ongoing, police have not had the opportunity to sit down one-on-one to speak with Lisa’s mother, Deborah Bradley. As the only adult in the home at the time of the baby’s disappearance, police continue to have questions to which only she can provide answers.â€

On Thursday, in a news interview, Lisa’s mother, Deborah Bradley, said she believes her daughter will be found alive.

Lisa was reported missing in the early morning hours on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011. Her parents reported her missing after her father, Jeremy Irwin, came home from work around 4 a.m. and discovered she was not in her crib.

Police said Lisa’s disappearance remains an active investigation. Anyone with tips is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at (816) 474.TIPS or to text 274 637 and include the code TIP452 in the message. All calls and texts remain anonymous.

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Mother of missing Missouri baby has not given needed answers: police

By Kevin Murphy

KANSAS CITY, Missouri | Fri Sep 28, 2012 6:20pm EDT

(Reuters) - The mother of missing Missouri baby Lisa Irwin has still not provided answers needed in the investigation into her daughter's disappearance from her home nearly a year ago in a high-profile case that drew national attention, police said on Friday.

Baby Lisa was last seen the night of October 3, 2011, when her mother, Deborah Bradley, says she put the then 10-month-old in her crib. The baby's father, Jeremy Irwin, discovered she was missing when he got home from work before dawn the next day, he has said.

Kansas City police said in a statement on Friday that the family was in touch with investigators but has still not given them the "opportunity to sit down one-on-one" with Bradley.

"As the only adult in the home at the time of the baby's disappearance, police continue to have questions to which only she can provide answers," police said.

Bradley has admitted to getting drunk the night Lisa disappeared.

But John Picerno, a Kansas City lawyer representing Bradley and Irwin, described as "completely false" the police assertion that Bradley has not been willing to be interviewed. He said she gave a videotaped interview to the FBI and a Kansas City police officer several months after Lisa disappeared and provided 100 pages of hand-written notes.

She remains willing to talk to police, he said.

"My door is always open, they know my phone number," Picerno said.

In a brief interview with Reuters outside her home on Thursday, Bradley said she was focused on helping with the investigation and that she "absolutely" believes Lisa is alive. Bradley said she is convinced the girl was kidnapped.

Police and the FBI have followed up on 1,667 tips on the child's disappearance, including some 500 reported sightings of the girl, the police statement said. They are checking into about a dozen active tips now, police said.

"Police have exhausted leads provided by Lisa Irwin's family and their attorneys and the leads were of no benefit to the investigation," police said.

Picerno said he will continue to provide tips to police but cannot control whether they lead anywhere.

(Editing By Corrie MacLaggan, Cynthia Johnston and Andrew Hay)

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‘Baby Lisa’ Irwin gone nearly a year and mystery lingers


Kansas City Star

Published Friday, Sep. 28, 2012, at 11:48 p.m.

Updated Friday, Sep. 28, 2012, at 11:49 p.m.

A vigil is planned for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the family’s home in the 3600 block of North Lister Avenue. They asked that those who attend wear pastels of yellow, pink or white.

Deborah Bradley hasn’t seen her daughter, the tot she calls Baby Lisa, for nearly a year.

Still, she occasionally buys toddler clothes in increasingly larger sizes, keeps the baby’s room intact and tells neighbors and friends she fully expects the little girl to come home.

Experts say it could happen. About 57 percent of children abducted by strangers each year are returned home alive. Infants usually have an even higher recovery rate, experts say. But most of those children are found quickly. National statistics from 2011 show 90 percent of children are recovered within 72 hours of an Amber Alert.

Thursday will mark the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of 10-month-old Lisa Irwin from her home in the 3600 block of North Lister Avenue. Her father, Jeremy Irwin, returned home from a late shift Oct. 4 and found his front door open, several lights on, and Bradley asleep. Lisa’s crib was empty.

Her parents have maintained that someone broke into their home and snatched Lisa while the toddler slept.

Since then, investigators have worked 1,667 tips, including 500 baby sightings around the world. Police checked about 100 leads twice — just to be sure — and they shared their case file with national experts for advice.

Yet, nearly 12 months later, police and federal agents seem no closer to finding Lisa or establishing how she disappeared.

They say they are facing the same giant hurdle: They haven’t been able to sit down one-on-one with Bradley — the only adult in the home at the time Lisa vanished — since the first days of the investigation. She admitted she had been drinking that night, but has repeatedly said she had nothing to do with the disappearance.

“Police continue to have questions to which only she can provide answers,” police wrote in a press release issued Friday.

The cooperation of parents is vital to an investigation, said Robert Lowery, a senior executive with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

“I would just urge the parents to reconsider,” he said. “The final concern is finding the child and returning her home.”

Leads provided so far by Lisa’s family and their attorneys haven’t helped, police said.

The parents’ lawyer took exception to the tone of the police statement, insisting “our doors are open, the phone is open, they have our numbers and they can call.”

In an email statement, the couple asked for tips and thanked people for support.

“Every day we wake up hoping it will be the day she comes home to us,” their statement said. “Until that day happens, our family will continue to be incomplete without her.”

The initial force of more than 100 investigators has now dwindled to one detective and one federal agent who work tips along with other cases.

Police know one tip could crack things open. The passage of time, they say, can both help and hurt a case. Memories and physical evidence may degrade, but relationships and alliances among people withholding key information can also shift.

A $100,000 reward remains available to anyone with information that brings Lisa home.

Even if the situation appears bleak, Lowery said, people should keep an open mind.

“Someone out there knows what happened,” he said. “That child did not get out of that crib and walk away.”

Sgt. Sondra Zink, who was the lead investigator on the Baby Lisa case for nearly six months, remembers the wakeup call about 4:30 a.m. last Oct. 4 that started it all.

The first she heard was that a baby was missing in a possible custody dispute involving grandparents. The baby wasn’t believed to be in danger.

“Keep me updated,” she told the officer on the phone before she hopped in the shower to head into work early.

Before she could even dry off, she learned the grandparents didn’t have the baby.

Zink’s heart sank. This case was no longer routine. It was an Amber Alert.

“The full scope of what it turned into didn’t hit me until two days into the investigation,” she said.

The weather on a recent afternoon was picture perfect on North Lister. The crisp air was punctuated with the sound of children playing, young boys riding their bicycles up and down the street and a man mowing his yard.

Life here seems little different from other neighborhoods throughout the Northland.

Still, the reminders of a tragedy linger.

Fliers soliciting information about the missing child plaster street light poles. Large posters and signs are taped to the windows and to the front door of Irwins’ one-story, beige ranch home.

One of the first things Zink did at the scene was call the FBI. Together, they assembled a task force of core investigators by 6 a.m.

By lunch, they had set up a command post in a field not far from the Irwin home complete with a bus for the task force to use as an office, portable restrooms, a Salvation Army tent, mounted patrol officers, police dogs and all-terrain vehicles.

Inside the bus, Zink coordinated officers who were arriving by the dozen from area law enforcement agencies. Investigators were told to exhaust every lead, “whether it takes 10 minutes or 10 hours.”

Two civilians started a database to track leads. They also checked license plates associated with baby sightings and reports of sex offenders who lived in the area.

It was like a scene out of a movie, Zink said — assignments barked out and officers springing into action.

Did a police dog search here? Did someone talk to this neighbor?

“It was overwhelming but reassuring at the same time,” Zink said.

As hours ticked by with no sign of Lisa, Zink recalled statistics that show that in fatal child abductions, the child is usually killed within three hours. If Lisa was not found alive, her case would be handed over to homicide detectives. Zink asked for a homicide detective to be put on the task force, just in case. She knew it would be detrimental to try to hand over a complicated case that didn’t have a homicide detective involved from the start.

This week, Bradley pulled the family’s sport utility vehicle into the driveway. A screen decal of a poster featuring her missing daughter dominates the vehicle’s back window.

Bradley stepped out of the vehicle along with Lisa’s half brothers and the family dog. They retreated inside the home but quickly returned outside to sit on the front porch.

Moments later, the dog broke free from its handler and raced down the street. Children who had been gathered in a nearby yard quickly chased down the pet as Bradley walked up to them.

She thanked the children for their help and instructed her older son how to keep a tight grip on the leash to ensure the dog doesn’t run away again.

The case hit international status within 72 hours. Zink said that added layers of frustration and complexity.

The nonstop attention by local and national media provided no escape for investigators.

Although the coverage put Lisa’s picture in front of millions, it also proved to be a “huge hindrance” that muddied the waters, Zink said.

“We wasted a lot of time on tips,” she said, “that turned out to stem from something somebody heard.”

Neighbors and those close to the family paint Bradley as prayerful and confident that Lisa will one day come home.

They say Lisa’s parents believe whoever took the girl either sold her or is raising her as their own.

“When I used to see her for the first few times, Debbie would cry every time she talked about Lisa,” said Dee Garrett, who lives across the street from Baby Lisa’s parents. “But now, she seems to be better. She seems to be excited when she says they are going to get Lisa back soon.”

Emotions remained high at the command post for weeks, Zink said.

“I can’t describe the intensity,” she said. “We all knew, ‘We gotta keep going.’ ”

Two detectives spent a week doing nothing but watching surveillance videos from city buses, red light cameras, businesses near the Irwin home and local big-box stores

“Do you know how many babies go through the checkout at Walmart in an hour?” Zink said.

The case was Zink’s last thought each night and first thought each morning.

Even in the first few days, Zink said there was a time where she believed they were “mere moments” away from recovering Lisa.

“Then, no. She’s not here,” Zink recalled with tears in her eyes.

A small group of neighbors have banded around Bradley. They hold a brief prayer vigil inside the Irwin home each month and counsel Bradley when worry overcomes her.

“It’s hard. She is grieving for her baby. She wants her back,” a neighbor said. “What keeps her going is the hope that her baby will be back at anytime.”

Meanwhile, neighbors have become more vigilant and cautious of strange vehicles that cruise through the neighborhood. They keep a watchful eye on their children, who know that a baby from their block went missing without a trace on a cool October night.

Bradley initially gave police an extended interview, but when investigators started pointing out apparent discrepancies in her story, she told police she no longer wanted to talk to them.

Her attorneys criticized police on national television, alleging that detectives were abusive and focused too much on Bradley’s actions and behaviors. The accusations stung investigators.

“We wanted to say, ‘No! That’s not right,’ ” Zink said. “ ‘That’s not how it went down.’ But we knew it wasn’t in the best interest of the investigation or child.”

Allegations that police had tunnel-vision on Bradley also weren’t true, Zink said. She said investigators regularly brainstormed during their investigation, pretending the mother had a rock-solid alibi.

“If mom had an alibi, where would we go? What would we look at?” she said.

Bradley’s level of cooperation remains in dispute.

Her attorney, John Picerno, maintains that Bradley has been accessible to police and answered their questions.

“The last time we sat down, I didn’t say a word and they got to videotape it,” he said Friday. “They got to ask everything they wanted, so we are a little suspicious, as we have been all along, about why they want to isolate her.”

Bradley and Irwin have appeared on a variety of national television news and daytime talk shows. Yet they’ve declined interview requests from local reporters.

Picerno said Bradley and Irwin feel those interviews would be counterproductive.

A core group of investigators remained totally focused on Lisa’s case until about mid-March, when they started taking on other cases.

About that same time, Zink took a transfer to the department’s robbery unit. She didn’t want to leave Lisa’s case unresolved, but the daily deluge of child abuse, neglect and porn she encountered from work in the juvenile section had taken its toll over five years.

“For my own sanity, I had to step away,” she said, admitting that she felt guilty. “I felt like I was abandoning the ones (on the Baby Lisa case) who were still left dealing with it.”

Zink is proud of the way police and federal agents worked seamlessly together. But she has one regret.

“The bottom line is, no matter how good the investigation is, there’s still a baby missing and we don’t know how,” she said. “There’s no good way to walk away and feel good about that.”

Zink said she hoped police will be able to find Lisa alive and well even if the odds don’t favor a cheery conclusion.

“But the happy ending where we found out what happened to her and the person is punished?” she said. “I won’t give up on that.”

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NCMEC Poster:

Endangered Missing


DOB:  Nov 11, 2010

Missing:  Oct 3, 2011

Missing From:



  United States

Sex:  Female

Race:  White

Hair:  Blonde

Eyes:  Blue

Height:  2'6" (76cm)

Weight:  30lbs (14kg)

Both photos shown are of Lisa. She was last seen at home on October 3, 2011 at approximately 6:00 p.m. Lisa has a birthmark on her right thigh. She was last known to be wearing purple pants and a purple shirt with kittens on it.


National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

1-800-843-5678 (1-800-THE-LOST)

Kansas City Police Department (Missouri) 1-816-474-8477

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Kelsie Schelling and Lisa Irwin are Project Jason's featured missing persons for August of 2013. Their photos and case information, with links to their news and information threads, is on the main page of the Project Jason website. This is one means of awareness for them, and with a high average of daily hits to the site, we'll reach many with their stories.

If your missing loved one is not registered with us for services, please click here:

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Family’s supporters hold vigil for Baby Lisa
October 5
The Kansas City Star

About 50 friends and supporters of the family of missing Baby Lisa gathered Saturday outside the lime-green home in the Northland where Lisa Irwin vanished two years ago.    

A computer-generated image shows what Lisa might look like today.

The candlelight vigil drew advocates of missing-persons groups who watched Lisa’s mother, Deborah Bradley, sob as she thanked them and called for greater public vigilance to locate the missing.

“If we all cared, there’d be no such thing as missing persons,” Bradley said.

Early on Oct. 4, 2011, Lisa’s father, Jeremy Irwin, arrived home from work to find lights on, the front door open and the 10-month-old baby’s crib empty. Bradley was sleeping in the house on the 3600 block of North Lister Avenue.

Kansas City police and the FBI have since investigated more than 1,770 tips, including infant sightings from around the world.

Police last week said the tips have slowed considerably. Authorities also released a computer-generated image of what Lisa might look like today, going on 3 years old.

Many at the evening vigil wore T-shirts bearing the baby’s photo under the word “Kidnapped.” Several fought back tears as Lisa’s parents spoke and led prayers.

“When she comes home,” said Bradley, referring to her daughter, “it’s going to mean a lot to her to see so many people” cared for her.

Bradley urged the public to use tools such as social media to draw attention to missing persons.

Lisa’s parents have repeatedly said they had nothing to do with their daughter’s disappearance. Maureen Reintjes, a Kansas advocate with the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, told the vigil crowd that “hateful talk” in the community often surrounds missing-person cases.

Sympathetic supporters, she said, outnumber “every hater out there.”

Police are asking people with information on Lisa’s disappearance to call the TIPS Hotline, 816-474-8477.

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Parents of missing baby Lisa tell of their devastation that Maria is NOT their daughter, but say they will not stop searching until the day they bring their child home
Jeremy and Deborah had believed Maria, found last week in a Greek Roma camp, was their child
DNA tests today proved her parents are Bulgarian couple who claim they gave her away because they coudn't afford her
Lisa's parents have kept their Kansas City home in a state of readiness for their child's return, packed full of princess dresses and toys
The devastated mother says: 'No matter what, we're always waiting for her'

Lisa was abducted when she was 11 months old in the middle of the night two years ago

PUBLISHED: 15:58 EST, 25 October 2013 | UPDATED: 16:31 EST, 25 October 2013

The parents of baby Lisa Irwin have revealed their devastation that, Maria, the child found in a Greek Roma camp, is NOT their daughter - snatched from her bed two years ago.

Speaking to MailOnline, Deborah Bradely fought back tears as she told how she stumbled on the news online: I wasn't expecting it. I wasn't prepared. I hadn't checked my phone which had messages from people trying to get hold of me.

'I just saw that they had found Maria's parents and that she wasn't Lisa. It's hard to describe how that moment felt. We had really, really hoped that it was her this time.'

DNA tests today proved that Maria is the daughter of Bulgarian couple, Sashka and Atanas Ruseva. They claim they gave their child to the Roma family in whose care she was found.

For Deborah, 27, and her partner Jeremy Irwin, 31, it is a crushing blow. They have lived an agonizing cycle of loss and hope since the morning of October 4, 2011, when Lisa, then just 11 months old, was abducted from her Kansas City home while her mother slept.

The discovery of Maria - the bleak-faced little blonde who has been at the center of an international identity appeal until today - had brought a new peak of intensity. Because, for a while at least, they truly believed that  Maria could be Lisa.

But with remarkable composure Deborah said: 'We are happy that this little girl has been found. That does bring me some joy and I'm still captivated by Maria's story and so glad that she will be in a safe place.

'She'll be in my prayers today just as she was yesterday.'

She added: 'It doesn't change our hopes. It doesn't change our plans to keep searching and to bring Lisa home. I'm glad some good has come out of this. It has raised awareness of Lisa again and that might generate new leads. We hope so.

'We hope that Maria's story is the catalyst that helps bring Lisa home.'

This is not the first time the couple have been lifted by a promising lead that offers up only heartache in the end. But it was by far 'the biggest' lead yet. And so it is by far the biggest let down they have suffered.

And somehow, regardless of the agonizing cycle of hope and disappointment through which they have lived so many times, they still dare to believe that their only daughter will one day be within touching distance.

Officials across the world had worked to find Maria's true identity since police found her last week. About 10 cases of missing children around the world were ‘ taken very seriously’ in connection with Maria’s case.

They included children from the United States, Canada, Poland and France.

In an emotional interview with MailOnline during the tense days when they waited for world Deborah and Jeremy told of what it was like living with such desperate hope.

‘No matter what, we’re always waiting for her,’ Deborah said.

Jeremy added, ‘It’s always 100 miles an hour and then zero miles an hour. I mean we’d like to get answers instantly but sadly they’ve got thousands of requests to go through so we have to be patient.’

‘It’s what it was like at the beginning,’ Deborah reflected.

News of Lisa’s abduction exploded into the small north Kansas neighborhood in the early hours of October 4 two years ago.

Officers hammered on neighbors’ doors, an Amber alert went out, posters were swiftly printed and a hotline set up. A handful of sightings went nowhere.

The couple became the subject of intense scrutiny. Deborah initially stated she had checked on baby Lisa around 10.40pm.

Later she wasn’t so certain that she had checked on the infant who was recovering from a cold and fever, after putting her down earlier than usual close to 6.30pm.

Electrician Jeremy was working a night shift. He came home around 4am to a house in some disarray, several lights were on, the front door was unlocked and with a cold sense of foreboding he checked on Lisa to discover she was gone.

In the weeks that followed young mother Deborah was forced to admit to having fallen asleep drunk.

ocal news reported that the couple were not co-operating with law enforcement and had refused to be interviewed separately. Today Deborah and Jeremy are adamant that simply is not true.

Jeremy said: ‘I think we had only one interview together, the rest we did separately.’

Deborah added: ‘I have spoken to law enforcement officials many times without an attorney present.

‘At the time of course it was heartbreaking to know that people thought we could harm our baby. But at the same time our focus has always been on Lisa and we know the truth.

‘We will keep on going until she comes home and in the grand scheme of things nothing else matters. The bigger picture is just bringing her home.’

Posters of Lisa are tacked to the front of the family’s clapboard home. Fading kidnap appeal posters are strapped to neighbors’ trees with yellow ribbon. A banner on the Irwin’s home reads: ‘This house needs Lisa to make it home again. Help bring Lisa home.’

A little pebble, bearing the word ‘Hope’ sits at the door.

Speaking softly, Jeremy said: 'Is it heartbreaking and depressing every single time you see it? Absolutely. But it’s not going anywhere soon until she comes home.'

As a couple, Deborah and Jeremy try to maintain as much stability as possible for sons, Blake, ten, and Michael, seven. Blake is Jeremy’s son from a previous relationship and Michael is Deborah’s from her first marriage. Lisa is their only child together, ‘the bond that ties us,’ as Deborah put it.

They named her after Deborah's mother who died when Deborah was just 15.

At weekends and on holidays Lisa’s older brothers help hand out fliers and buttons and bracelets. Sometimes, Deborah admitted, it is their strength that gives her the will to carry on.

She clutches Lisa’s favorite Barney toy in bed each night.

She said:‘Sometimes even though it’s been two years since she was kidnapped, sometimes you wake up and it hits you all over again.

‘You have these moments when you just can’t believe that somebody stole your baby.’

Deborah’s one consolation is her belief that whoever took Lisa did not do so with the intention of harming her. ‘Nobody takes a baby to hurt them,’ she said.

Pictures of Lisa are everywhere in the house – on the walls and surfaces of each room. She is there as a newborn looked over lovingly by her brothers, there in Blake’s arms shortly before she was abducted. But where Blake and Michael’s pictures show the rapid changes of boyhood, Lisa is always a baby.

The only picture of her as she may be now is the National Center for Missing Children’s age progression artists’ impression.

Deborah has had it framed and put it on display along with the other family portraits.

She explained: ‘I like looking at it. When I first opened it up I had not a doubt that that’s my Lisa. I know it’s not a real photo, I wish it was. It was extremely overwhelming to look at it.

‘I didn’t want to stop touching it. It was like touching her. I look at it and I think that’s my daughter, that’s my Lisa.’

She is in a permanent state of desperate readiness for her daughter’s return.

Lisa’s small bedroom is cluttered with presents and cards and toys and clothes amassed in the time since she was last in it.

Everything is pink. Jeremy has made a dressing table with drawers for costumes she has never worn and jewelry she has never tangled or gazed on.

Deborah buys her the clothes that might fit her now. Baby clothes have been discarded, toddler garments set aside unworn. Now little dresses that might fit a girl of three hang on the side of the crib she will by now have outgrown.

The presents from her first and second birthday sit wrapped in Hello Kitty paper, untroubled by excited infant fingers.

'We want her to know, when she comes home, that we never once excluded her. We never forgot her,' Deborah explained.

Last year Deborah had a tattoo inked onto her forearm: a yellow ribbon with the date of Lisa’s abduction on one end and a blank space for the date of her homecoming on the other.

When she comes home Deborah will have it filled in pink – yellow is for those who are missing.

‘If Lisa likes it,’ she added. ‘If she doesn’t like it I’ll have it removed.’

It troubles Deborah that she does not know what her daughter likes. She doesn’t know what she is being fed. She doesn’t know if she still loves bananas and macaroni cheese and spaghetti.

She doesn’t know if, like Maria, she speaks no English.

She admitted: ‘That really worried me at first. I thought when my daughter comes home I won’t be able to tell her how much we’ve missed her, how much we love her, how much we have looked for her.

‘But then I thought I will have her in my arms and everything else we’ll work out.’

Tears are never far from Deborah’s eyes. They come unbidden and unexpectedly she admitted: 'You never know when a crying spell is going to break out.  Sometimes it happens when I’m picking up the kids. Sometimes it happens when I go the grocery store. You never know.'

Because the absence always presses.

They nearly lost Lisa in the moment of her birth, at Center Point Hospital, Independence, Missouri, Deborah recalled. What began as a natural birth lurched to an emergency C-section as Lisa’s heartbeat suddenly dropped.

The umbilical cord was wrapped round her throat.

She said: ‘That was the scariest moment of my life. Until the day she was kidnapped -then I realized I’d never really been afraid in my life.’

Today both Deborah and Jeremy find strength in their faith. Each week friends and neighbors join them in their home to pray for Lisa and other missing children.

This cause, so bitingly personal, has become a broader one for them both. Since Lisa’s kidnapping they have become members of a club no-one would ever wish entrance to, as parents of missing children. It has opened their eyes to a world that they never knew existed.

Deborah said: ‘I will not have Lisa’s kidnap be in vain. Even after she is back our aim is to keep campaigning and raising awareness of human trafficking.

‘It’s something that I’ve noticed with Maria’s story that the subject is being talked about and it must be. This isn’t the movies - it’s happening. It happens to everyday average people like us.’

Casting an eye over her daughter’s bedroom, Deborah said: ‘Right now everything is overwhelming and we just have to be patient.'

Right now they must find their hope and cling to it once more.

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Parents continue searching for Baby Lisa 3 years after she disappeared from KC home

JiaoJiao Shen
5:00 PM, Oct 2, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - This weekend marks three years since Lisa Irwin disappeared from her home in Kansas City, Mo.

Her parents say they try to get through every day, maintaining structure for their two boys, ages 8 and 11. But constant reminders of their missing daughter make each passing day harder.

“We were talking about Halloween costumes and we got the boys picked out and we're going to go get Lisa's soon,” said Deborah Bradley, Lisa’s mom. “We don't know what she likes. We don't know what her favorite cartoon character is. We don't know her and she doesn't know us.”

Lisa disappeared from her room sometime during the night between Oct. 3 and Oct. 4, 2011. While her story is no longer front page news, her parents say their resolve to find Lisa is still just as strong.

“She's been gone for three years now and somebody at some point in time has got to have taken her to the doctor, to daycare or something,” said Jeremy Irwin, Lisa’s father. “She had to have been out in public somewhere.”

Bradley and Irwin continue to update their website, and their Facebook page, Lisa Irwin: Footprints in the Sand . Through these websites, they gain support from people around the world. They also use them to help other families by posting pictures and information of their loved ones.

“It originally started out as a page for her and it grew into a page for other people, so if we can't get her home right now, but we can help somebody else, that means something,” Bradley said.

They also receive tips through the sites, which they immediately pass on to the Kansas City Police Department.

“Even if it's a tip that doesn't pan out, there's no tip too small,” Bradley said.

A spokesman for KCPD told 41 Action News that in the last year, the department has received 100 tips or leads. Each one becomes its own investigation. The department continues to ask anyone with information to come forward or call the TIPS hotline at 816-474-TIPS.

“It's painful to know that it's been three years and Lisa is still not home, but it feels good to know that the community is still watching out for her,” Bradley said.

The family is holding a public vigil on Saturday at 7 p.m. at their home.

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Mom of baby Lisa snatched from her home three years ago reveals she can't walk down the street without thinking every girl is her daughter - and her guilt over being drunk during kidnap


Deborah Irwin gave tearful interview speaking of her regrets and fears


Told how she wasn't alert after drinking on night of October 4, 2011


Husband Jeremy came home to find Lisa, aged 10 months, had vanished


Deborah said that she still thinks girls Lisa's age could be the stolen child



PUBLISHED: 10:47 EST, 3 January 2015 | UPDATED: 18:12 EST, 3 January 2015


The mother of missing girl Lisa Irwin has spoken of her ongoing anguish over the loss of her daughter - and revealed that she still looks into every passing stroller wondering if the child inside is actually hers.


Deborah Irwin also repeated how she regrets getting drunk with a friend on the night her daughter, aged just 10 months, vanished more than three years ago.

In a tearful interview alongside her husband Jeremy, she told how she felt kidnappers took advantage of a moment of weakness and snatched her child while she wasn't alert enough to react.


Deborah remembers tucking her daughter in on October 4, 2011, then started drinking in the house with a friend, while Jeremy was working a night shift.

He came home to find the child missing, and despite years of searching neither they nor police have a clue what happened to her.


Speaking to Fox News anchor Megan Kelly, Deborah revealed how the loss still haunts her and has her constantly wondering whether children the age her daughter would be now - around four years old - are actually Lisa.


She told Kelly: 'I did it all day today when we were walking around before we came here to see you. We were standing on the corner and I see a little girl.'


'She was in her stroller, she was about Lisa's age, and I looked down at her and I said to Jeremy: "I'm really tired of looking at everybody else's kid hoping it's mine."'


The parents also said that they keep her room as it was when Lisa vanished - and keep filling in with presents after every birthday and Christmas for Lisa to open should she return.


Deborah said the room is a source of comfort to them. She said: 'It feels good to go in there, and smell her, and know that someday she's going to come home and she's gonna see all these presents and she's gonna be excited to open them and to watch her reaction and stuff like that.'


Police are still hunting for Lisa, and are called up with around two tips per week. A $100,000 reward has been posted for information leading to her safe return.


Recently a new missing poster was put out featuring a digital version of what her face may look like more than three years on, which Deborah and Jeremy hope will prompt more leads in the search.


However, the frantic night they realized their daughter was missing still haunts them, and their accounts have prompted waves of criticism from those who suspect or doubt their account.


Returning to the desperate discovery that Lisa was missing, Deborah spoke of her biggest regret from that night - her decision to drink after putting Lisa to bed. She says the alcohol made her less alert for what she believes was a planned snatching.


She said: 'I wish I hadn't been drinking. I feel like it was planned and they were gonna take her... maybe if I hadn't been drinking I would have heard something and got up. I just feel like I didn't save her.'

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On fourth anniversary of Lisa Irwin’s disappearance, parents hold vigil at Kansas City home



OCTOBER 3, 2015

On the fourth anniversary of baby Lisa Irwin’s disappearance, her parents held another vigil at their home in Kansas City.


Family members lit candles, said prayers and urged others to keep sharing the most recent age progression photo of Lisa, who was 10 months old when she went missing from her home in the 3600 block of North Lister Avenue. She was last seen about 6 p.m. on Oct. 3, 2011.


Fewer people attend the vigils now than in the past. About 30 showed up on Saturday. Tips with possible information about Lisa’s whereabouts come in less frequently, too.


“It seems like it gets harder and harder every time we do this,” said Lisa’s father, Jeremy Irwin. “It’s almost like a really long bad joke.”


Kansas City police have investigated thousands of leads in the case, following them until each was exhausted. The family recently received an online tip about a photo of a child that some thought might be Lisa, but it was revealed as a hoax.


Along the front of the Irwin home, family members hung posters with Lisa’s photo. Her mother, Deborah Bradley, said a $100,000 reward was still offered in the case. Bradley said she will never stop searching for her daughter. Lisa would be 5 years old on Nov. 11.


“When we get her home and she’s safe, that’s when we stop,” Bradley said. After that, Bradley plans to help other families with missing children. “So this is going to be a never-ending thing.”


The family has produced T-shirts, hats, bracelets and fliers bearing Lisa’s photo. The family urged people to keep sharing Lisa’s picture through social media.


Lisa had blond hair, blue eyes and a birthmark on her right thigh. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released an age-progressed photo of her last year, which is available on the Kansas City Police Department website.


Anyone with information about Lisa’s disappearance is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

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Five years later: New theories revealed in baby Lisa Irwin’s disappearance

Updated: Oct 04, 2016 6:46 AM PST

By Chris Oberholtz, Digital Content Manager
By Angie Ricono, Investigative Reporter

The disappearance of baby Lisa Irwin is a crime that still baffles Kansas City five years later. 

The 10-month-old was last seen in her crib on Oct. 3, 2011. She simply vanished. Lisa’s parents believe their daughter is alive. 

“There’s not a doubt in my mind, and I’m her mom. I obviously I have my mother’s intuition, and I have never once felt for a second that she has been hurt or gone," Lisa’s mother, Deborah Bradley, said.

Her parents believe she was kidnapped and then sold.

“This was not a one-person deal,” Lisa’s father, Jeremy Irwin, said.

Police originally zeroed in on Bradley as a possible suspect. The parents say they hold no grudges.

Bradley drank with a neighbor the night Lisa went missing. She eventually told investigators that she didn’t remember if she checked on her daughter before she went to bed about 10:40 p.m. The last check may have been 6:40 p.m.

Bradley said she passed a lie detector test. However, police originally told her she failed as a tactic to force a confession. Bradley said she understands and respects why police did that.

“Absolutely! Some of the stuff you see on the news with parents and their children … just horrid things! I can completely understand. It's just after some point in time you got to look elsewhere,” Bradley said.

Oct. 3, 2011

Jeremy Irwin called 911 to report his daughter missing.

He returned home from work at 4 a.m. The front door was unlocked. Lisa was missing from her crib. 

The family reported their three cell phones were also missing, and nothing else was taken.

Police issued an Amber Alert and quickly released pictures of Lisa with her big blue eyes. 

Investigators combed fields near the Irwin home, drained wells, and police even searched neighbors’ homes looking for Lisa.

The investigation became the intense focus of national media. 

Information dripped out day-by-day. The missing cell phones were pinged close to the Irwin home and were accessed throughout the night Lisa went missing.

A cadaver dog reportedly smelled something in the parent’s bedroom. And burnt baby clothes were found inside a neighborhood dumpster.

One tip that became public involved a handyman, John “Jersey Joe” Tanko, who had a criminal record and worked in the neighborhood. He dated Megan Wright, who publicly reported her cell phone was called by one of those missing cell phones. 

Wright said many other people had access to her cell phone, and she would not make or receive that call. 

Police never named Tanko a suspect and said he cooperated with investigators who were satisfied with his answers.

Originally attorney speaks out

Cyndy Short represented the family in the early days of the investigation. 

She is the attorney the family still keeps in contact with today. She calls the parents credible and heartbroken.

“My gut tells me without any doubt that somebody unknown to the family came into this home was in and out of the home very quickly,” Short said.

Short conducted her own investigation with staff from her office. 

They spoke to people in the neighborhood who say they saw a man and an under-dressed baby the night Lisa went missing. 

“Our prayer is once the baby left this area … she ended up somewhere safe and warm. Statistically, that's probably not the outcome, but it's the one we pray for,” Short said.

Stranger abductions

Stranger Abductions are incredibly rare. 

There are only a handful of cases of newborn babies being kidnapped. Those are generally violent attacks involving infants being cut out of the womb.

“Why would this child at this age be disappearing now?” former FBI agent Michael Tabman questions.

Tabman said Lisa’s age probably troubled investigators. Kidnappings generally involve middle school-aged girls. 

Tabman points out high profile examples like 11-year-old Jaycee Dugard, 12-year-old Poly Klass and 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart. 

“I do not believe this was a stranger abduction,” Tabman said.

Where the investigation stands today

Police say this is still an active investigation and have received 573 tips regarding Lisa’s disappearance.  

Lisa’s parents hope the anniversary of her disappearance raises awareness and prompts more tips. They point to the $100,000 reward that’s still available in the case.

“Think of her, think of how much she deserves to be with the people who love her the most,” Lisa’s mother said.

“Or think of yourself and take the money and leave town. Whatever it's going to take,” adds Lisa’s father.

If you have any information call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.



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