The parents of missing baby Lisa Irwin were seen at a prayer vigil outside their home on Sunday night, while one of their attorneys suggested that police have missed their chance of finding the child alive by wasting time and resources investigating her clients.
Family members and friends have frequently gathered for vigils outside the Kansas City house where the 11-month-old disappeared nearly three weeks ago, but Sunday’s event marked Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin’s first public appearance in several days. They did not speak, but when asked by CNN affiliate KMBC what the large crowd attending the vigil meant to her, Bradley said, “It means a lot.”
An attorney for the parents, Cynthia Short, toured their home over the weekend following the 17-hour search authorities conducted last week and talked to local reporters about what she saw.
Despite police bringing in x-ray machines, none of the floors, walls or carpets had been removed or ripped up. A search warrant return released Friday only listed a handful of items that were collected from the house. Short said the carpet reporters saw being carried off the property during the search was taken from the shed in the back yard.
Speaking to CNN affiliate KCTV, Short said she was surprised police had not taken even a piece of the carpet from the bedroom where a cadaver dog had indicated the scent of a dead body for further testing. The cadaver dog “hit” was one of the reasons for the more intrusive search of the house cited in the search warrant affidavit.
“My fear is that we have missed this critical time to find this baby,” Short told KCTV. “It really breaks my heart that we have been looking in the wrong direction, and as a result of that we might not get the happy ending that we want.”
In an interview with WDAF, Short also revealed one of the conditions the parents have placed on a possible future interview with police. There are certain detectives who they feel have broken their trust and they do not want them to be present because sitting down with them would be “counter productive,” Short said.
She suggested Bradley and Irwin would be more comfortable talking to “some detectives who are fresh-eyed, fresh-eared.”
Another attorney for the couple, Joe Tacopina, questioned the significance of some of the information in the search warrant affidavit, particularly the cadaver dog picking up the scent of a dead body on the floor of the bedroom. He suggested on NBC’s “Today Show” Monday that the scent the dog hit on could have come from a dirty diaper or toenails, dismissing it as a “red herring.”
Both attorneys pointed to recent reports about witnesses seeing a man carrying a baby on the night Lisa disappeared as a lead police should be pursuing instead of investigating the parents. Two witnesses who live a few doors away from Bradley and Irwin saw the man around 12:15 am on October 4 and found it odd that he was not wearing a jacket and the baby seemed be wearing nothing but a diaper. Another witness said he saw a similar-looking man and baby around 4:00 am about three miles away.
Surveillance video from a gas station less than two miles from the Irwin home obtained by CNN shows a man walking along the road around 2:15 am. It is hard to make out any detail of what the man looks like, but the station’s manager told CNN that it is unusual for anyone to be walking in that area at that time of night.
It is still unclear if there is any connection between the three sightings.
Lisa Irwin’s parents say she vanished from her crib sometime between 6:40 pm on October 3 and 4:00 am on October 4.