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Two years after Baby Lisa’s disappearance, tips dwindle but family retains hope

  • The Kansas City Star
  • Published Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, at 11:30 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, at 7:52 a.m.

Deborah Bradley says she might be doing laundry or running an errand when the anxiety sets in.

And when the emotional burden becomes unbearable, she closes her eyes and prays.

Almost two years have passed since her daughter, 10-month-old Lisa Irwin, disappeared from her home in the 3600 block of North Lister Avenue in Kansas City. The child’s father, Jeremy Irwin, returned home from a late shift Oct. 4, 2011, and found the front door open, several lights on and Bradley asleep. Lisa’s crib was empty.

Bradley and Irwin have maintained that someone broke into their home and grabbed Lisa while she slept. Police say their investigation continues, but the calls and tips have dwindled.

Friday will mark the two-year anniversary of the disappearance. The family and their supporters will hold a prayer vigil at 7 p.m. Saturday at the home.

The family also released an age-progression image that shows what Lisa might look like today.

“I cannot force the people who know where Lisa is and who might have her into telling us. I have no control over that,” Bradley said. “You do what you can for your baby, because it is your job as a parent to protect your child, and I wasn’t able to protect her from the bad guys.”

Little has changed in the two years since Lisa appeared. A $100,000 reward remains available to anyone with information that helps bring the girl home.

A New York lawyer still represents Lisa’s parents, and a private detective continues to investigate, said the family’s local attorney, John Picerno.

Bradley said she often passes tips she receives to the FBI or police investigators.

“Because she is still not home, and I have to do what is best for her and for her safety,” Bradley said.

The tips and leads to Kansas City investigators have slowed considerably, to about one a week, said Kansas City Police Capt. Tye Grant.

During the first year, detectives worked more than 1,600 leads and countless baby sightings. Numerous leads were checked twice, but investigators are no closer than they were when Lisa disappeared.

Bradley said she and Irwin think someone took Lisa and is raising the child as his or her own.

“When somebody abducts an infant, they don’t take them to hurt them,” she said. “Wherever she is, she is being loved and taken well care of, because they went through a hell of a lot of trouble to get her.”

Bradley and Irwin have repeatedly said they did not harm Lisa and had nothing to do with her disappearance. But Bradley said she knew why others might have questions.

“When she comes home and (with) all of the hateful things that certain people have said, they have to answer to their maker for judgment,” she said. “I will have my daughter back, and I will be vindicated, and those people that spent all of that time judging me will be miserable, but we won’t.

“We will be happy again.”

To reach Glenn E. Rice, call 816-234-4341 or send email to grice@kcstar.com.

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