Police to search home of missing Kansas City baby again

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 | 7:44 a.m. CDT; updated 10:43 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, October 19, 2011
KANSAS CITY — Investigators will again search the Kansas City home of a family who said its baby was abducted two weeks ago but this time with a warrant that bars the parents from immediately returning, police said Wednesday.

Before sunrise, two squad cars were parked outside the house and an ever-present abundance of media trucks packed the street. Kansas City Police Capt. Steve Young said detectives will begin the search Wednesday morning.

"We have a warrant for the house," Young said. He did not explain why a warrant was necessary. There was no indication that the family has tried to block investigators' access to their home, which has already been scoured by FBI agents with dogs.

Lisa Irwin was 10 months old on Oct. 4 when her parents reported her missing. Her father, Jeremy Irwin, said he returned home from a late shift to discover the lights on, a window tampered with, the front door unlocked and Lisa gone. The baby's mother, Deborah Bradley, and Lisa's two older brothers had been asleep elsewhere in the house. Bradley has admitted she drank heavily that night and might have blacked out.

The parents insist their baby was snatched by an intruder.

Police, FBI agents, officers from area law enforcement agencies and the Missouri National Guard, have searched the family's home, neighborhood, nearby wooded areas, a landfill and abandoned homes. Police have refused to discuss any evidence gathered in the searches, saying only that they remain without a suspect.

Young said all previous searches of the house have been conducted with the family's consent. The warrant prevents anyone except those involved in the investigation from entering, meaning family members — who have returned home from time to time to collect clothes and other belongings — may not go back inside until the search is over.

The family's lawyer, Joe Tacopina, said early Wednesday that he had not heard about the warrant except through media reports.

"I don't know why a warrant is needed. They can go in and out any time," Tacopina said. "They have had unfettered access because we want answers."

He said the family members haven't been back to the house in the past couple of days because they don't want to interfere with the investigation.

On Tuesday, Young said Bradley and Jeremy Irwin had not sat down face-to-face with investigators since Oct. 8, and had only responded to questions seeking clarification on tips.

It's been 10 days since the couple have answered police questions on "things that we believe only they would know about," he said.

Much attention has focused on a rash of recent TV interviews the parents have given in which Bradley admitted she had consumed several glasses of wine the night that Lisa disappeared. She also told NBC that she did not see the baby after putting her to bed at about 6:40 p.m. — roughly four hours earlier than the time she originally gave police. She didn't explain the difference.

Tacopina has said Bradley's candid words indicate the parents have nothing to hide.

Bradley has said she expects to be arrested in her baby's disappearance.

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Kelley Haywood October 19, 2011 | 2:01 p.m.

She drank, took anxiety medication, blacked out, and she doesn't recall seeing her daughter after 6:40 p.m. But she insists that there is no way she could have done anything to her daughter - because alcohol doesn't change you that much and make you do things like that. Seriously? Ask anyone who's done something totally out of character while they were drunk if booze can affect what a person does. When people are taking anti-anxiety drugs and mixing it with about "five or more" glasses of wine, things can happen that might not normally happen... like unforeseen accidents, or sudden outbursts and rages that might result in a baby being shaken or thrown or dropped.
She also didn't admit to the drinking until after the video footage of her buying the wine was released to the public, and she only now is admitting that there is a four-hour difference in the time that she reported she last saw Lisa. Maybe that's because she's worried that Lisa's body will be found and the autopsy will show that she couldn't have possibly been alive and well at 10:30; that's my guess, anyway.
And, because she's been running her mouth on all sorts of national TV programs - talking about her alleged innocence, changing her story along the way - her lawyer has to do damage control and say she's running her mouth because she has nothing to hide. I also read elsewhere that she claimed her sons had heard noises that night, but that she hadn't talked to them about it or asked them any questions because she wanted to spare them any upset that the questioning might cause them. Yeah, if my baby was missing, I sure wouldn't want to question anyone else who was in the house while I was blacked out to see if they might have heard or seen anything. Please - the other people in the house are the FIRST ones you talk to!
My guess is that she was wasted, and there was some sort of accident. Maybe the baby fell, maybe one of the brothers was involved, maybe the mom shook the baby or dropped the baby or left her in the bathtub because she was too wasted to know what she was doing. Then, when the dad came home and found out that the baby was dead, he was an accessory after the fact and helped to hide the accident. And, with her going around telling everyone that she's a suspect and that she failed a lie detector test, the police can just stand back and let her keep running her mouth without having to name her a suspect or person of interest in the meantime.
Just my inexpert opinion, of course, but it will be interesting to see how close I am to the truth when it's all said and done.

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Sally Willis October 19, 2011 | 3:29 p.m.

Oooohhhh Kelley I think you are so right it hurts! But that's my inexpert opinion too! I thought when I saw the first interview of her, you know the one when she was sobbing uncontrollably (without any tears) but wouldn't make any sort of eye contact or even look at the camera she had done something. This is just beyond fathom to any mother. I could not imagine drinking myself to blacking out with my child in the house, let alone when I'm the only "responsible" adult.

(Report Comment)
Kelley Haywood October 19, 2011 | 4:59 p.m.

She may not have intended to drink enough to get drunk, but when you're mixing alcohol with anti-anxiety medication it makes it very difficult to gauge when enough is enough. I would think that five glasses of wine is more than enough to at least be pretty tipsy, but when you factor in anti-anxiety medication, the effects are multiplied. That's why medication like that includes the warning to not drink or drive while taking it. It's a pretty potent combination. If she'd done it on other nights without any adverse consequences, then it may not have seemed like that big of a deal at the time. And, since she stated that she often drank in the evenings while Lisa's dad was working, and since she apparently had a prescription for the medication, I'd guess that that wasn't the first evening that she'd combined the two.
I think it's odd, too, that she would put a 10-month old baby to bed for the night that early in the evening, unless she was planning on drinking unencumbered by parental duties. Maybe they had a whole different schedule since the dad worked nights, but neither of my kids ever went to bed for the night that early anymore by the time they were 10-11 months old, you know? The news articles have stated that Lisa had a cough and a cold; I'm wondering if the mother gave the baby medicine to help her sleep, and if maybe some sort of accident resulted from that. And, if there were some sort of accident - (maybe because I still can't believe that she'd deliberately harm the baby) - then I would guess that she panicked and tried to cover it up. She may really not remember what happened; that's what a blackout is - you don't remember what you did while you were under the influence.
She could have failed the polygraph because she feels guilty about being passed out when her daughter was abducted, or she could have failed the test because she's worried that she did do something to Lisa while she was under the influence, or she could have failed it because she did do something and knows exactly what she did - or has a pretty good guess.
I'm thinking that the police got the search warrant for the house and grounds to make sure that anything they find will hold up in court. If they tried to search just on the permission of the parents, you never know what kind of restrictions could be placed on the search, or what might end up getting tossed out of court later. I'm guessing that they are absolutely doing everything by the book with this one.
You mentioned how there were no tears during an interview, and what I've noticed the most is how she has so much trouble maintaining eye contact. Then again, she probably was nervous and some people just have difficulty with the whole eye contact thing. In and of itself, I wouldn't think it's necessarily a sign that she's lying - but taken with everything else, it just seems to be one more suspicious oddity among many.

(Report Comment)
Kelley Haywood October 19, 2011 | 6:14 p.m.

Also wanted to say that I saw where you had commented elsewhere that you think Bradley might be laying the groundwork for a defense by stating that she was drinking and may have blacked out. That's a good point and she might be doing that, but I don't think it's much of a defense. Being under the influence isn't considered a defense in other cases - especially if someone died.
She may not have been in control of all of her faculties after she drank and took the medication, but she was when she made the choice to ingest those substances. She can't claim that she wasn't aware of the effect the alcohol would have, especially since she's already said that she drinks often when her husband's at work. And drinking on top of the medication wouldn't be a mitigating factor, either, in my opinion. The label on the medication bottle makes it very clear that you shouldn't drink while you're taking that medicine. The warning's written on the label, right next to the symbol showing a wine glass in a circle with a line through it - the universal sign for "don't drink alcohol while you're taking this stuff."
I don't know, though. I've never taken a law class in my life, so when I say "inexpert," I'm being very literal. It's just a really sad thing, though, no matter which way you look at it, and none of this academic discussion can change that.

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