Lisa Irwin should have celebrated her first birthday in November. She should be in the arms of her loved ones today as they decorate her house and prepare for the holidays.
But she's not.
Lisa's parents reported her missing in the early hours of October 4 and she has not been seen since. They claimed she disappeared from her crib in their Kansas City home after her mother put her to sleep around 6:40 the previous night.
Lisa's mother, Deborah Bradley, spent several hours drinking with a neighbor that night and did not recall checking on her again after that point, while Lisa's father, Jeremy Irwin, was at work overnight. They told police that when he returned home around 4 a.m., one of the windows was tampered with and the front door was unlocked.
Although the parents have been cooperative with authorities in many ways, police say they have refused to sit down for separate unrestricted interviews with detectives since a few days after they reported Lisa missing. The couple's attorneys have said they do not want to speak to investigators who they feel have already determined their guilt.
Baby Lisa's story captured the public's attention nearly three months ago, with photos of her smiling face plastered across TV screens nationwide and the mysterious circumstances of her disappearance facing intense scrutiny by the media and law enforcement.
In recent weeks, however, the spotlight on the case seems to have dimmed. Police were forced to shut down their Baby Lisa command center and reassign some of the detectives working on the investigation as a backlog of other cases grew. They said they would continue to follow up on leads as needed and they will launch new physical searches if the evidence gives them a reason to do so.
Although Lisa's family has asked the public to stop gathering on their front lawn for vigils, one group marched in a nearby park a couple of weeks ago. Participants in the event told KSHB that they believe Lisa is still alive somewhere and they are disappointed that her parents are not out actively searching for her.
Many other innocent people have found themselves wrapped up in the investigation as the case progressed. The Kansas City Star reported earlier this month on a family that has been forced to prove to authorities five times since October that their 11-month-old daughter is not Lisa Irwin. According to the paper, those were only five of more than 400 false sightings of Lisa that police have investigated throughout the US and Canada.
"You think about her family and the detectives and all the peripheral people," Kansas City Police Sgt. Sondra Zink told the Star. "There is a trickle-down effect with the impact it has had on so many different people."