Sometime between 6:40 p.m. on October 3 and 4:00 a.m. on October 4, 2011, 10-month-old Lisa Irwin vanished from her crib in her Kansas City home, according to her parents.
One year, 1,667 tips and countless hours of searching and investigative work later, police say they still have questions that only the girl’s mother can answer.
Lisa’s mother, Deborah Bradley, told NBC’s “Today Show” that she put her daughter to bed around 6:40 p.m. and then got drunk. When Jeremy Irwin, Lisa’s father, returned from work around 4:00 a.m., Lisa was gone.
According to Irwin, the front door was unlocked, several lights were on inside the house and one of the front windows was damaged. Also, the couple’s cellphones were missing.
In a statement marking the one-year anniversary of the girl’s disappearance, Kansas City Police announced that the investigation is still active. At least one KCPD detective and one FBI agent work on the case nearly every day, and dozens more are ready to investigate if a break comes.
However, despite nearly 1,700 tips—including 500 false sightings of Lisa in the U.S. and abroad—they are still looking for quality leads to pursue. Investigators have also reviewed previously closed leads, re-interviewed witnesses and re-evaluated forensic evidence.
Police say tips reported from social media and the internet have detracted from investigators’ ability to follow legitimate leads. According to the statement, leads provided by Lisa’s family and their attorneys have been “of no benefit to the investigation.”
While they have had ongoing communication with Lisa’s parents over the last year, detectives have not been able to sit down with Deborah Bradley for a one-on-one interview since early in the investigation. As the only adult in the home at the time Lisa went missing, police say she has information that could be vital to solving the case.
An attorney for Lisa’s parents, John Picerno, could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but he told ABC News they were “very, very surprised” by the KCPD press release. He also called police claims about Bradley’s unwillingness to talk to them “simply untrue.”
Picerno told ABC that police can sit down with Bradley and ask anything they want, but only with him present. He said he does not want to submit her to “a full-blown interrogation” where detectives would accuse her of harming her child.
He also noted that Bradley and Irwin were questioned for 30 hours in the days after they reported Lisa missing. Picerno and other family attorneys have complained in the past about the accusatory tone they claim detectives took in those interviews.
“The one thing we can’t allow to happen is an abusive and antagonistic interview process that took place early on,” Picerno reportedly told KMBC.
Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin have maintained their innocence from the beginning and police have never named either of them as suspects in the case. The couple has given several national media interviews defending themselves against those who have questioned their behavior.
“If I had done something, I’d be in jail by now,” Bradley said on “The Dr. Phil Show” in February.
In a statement earlier this week, Lisa’s parents reportedly begged for new information and said they continue to hope she will be found safe.
“Every day without her is hard and there is no such thing as normalcy anymore. Every day we wake up hoping it will be the day she comes home to us,” Bradley and Irwin said, according to KMBC. “Until that day happens our family will continue to be incomplete without her…Her two brothers are waiting for her to come home so they can play with her again.”
The parents' statement also reiterated that a $100,000 reward is being offered for information leading to Lisa’s return.
Police ask anyone with “substantial knowledge” of what happened to Lisa Irwin to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).