(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) — The Irwin family home on North Lister in Kansas City, Mo., looks deceptively normal. The father leaves every morning to go to work while the mother stays at home to care for the couple’s two young boys. In the afternoon, neighborhood kids can be seen playing in the yard.
But inside the house is a little girl’s room that has been virtually untouched for a year. The room belongs to baby Lisa Irwin who vanished from her crib, seemingly without a trace, exactly a year ago on Wednesday.
“They’ve got Lisa’s room intact,” Irwin family attorney John Picerno told ABC News, referring to Lisa’s parents Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin. “They still try to honor her. They still believe that she is alive. They buy clothes that will fit her when she comes home. They try to buy gifts for her to celebrate the various holidays as the holidays pass.”
Lisa disappeared the night of Oct. 3, 2011 from her home and the family has maintained from the beginning that the girl was abducted from her bedroom inside the home while her father was at work and her mother and brothers were asleep in another room.
Deborah Bradley, 26, and the girl’s father Jeremy Irwin, 30, became a focal point for suspicion by both the public and the police. The relationship between the parents and the Kansas City Police Department has been contentious, with frequent public sparring between the two. They argued about issues including the extent of the parents’ cooperation, polygraph tests and interviewing Lisa’s two young brothers.
One year later, the tense relationship has resurfaced as unsatisfied police suggest that they are still seeking more information from Bradley.
“Police have exhausted leads provided by Lisa Irwin’s family and their attorneys, and the leads were of no benefit to the investigation,” the KCPD said in a statement. “While communication with the family has been ongoing, police have not had the opportunity to sit down one-on-one to speak with Lisa’s mother, Deborah Bradley. As the only adult in the home at the time of the baby’s disappearance, police continue to have questions to which only she can provide answers.”
Picerno said he and his clients were taken aback by the police’s statement.
“We were very, very surprised that KCPD, first of all, issued a press release in and of itself,” he said. “Second, we were surprised with the tone of the press release, particularly since we believe that what’s in the press release relative to Jeremy and Deborah is simply untrue.”
Picerno acknowledged that there was a breakdown in communication between authorities and the parents after over 30 hours of initial questioning with the couple. He said that Bradley and Irwin sat down with police again in February, but conceded that Bradley has not sat for a one-on-one with investigators.
“They haven’t but they can certainly sit down one-on-one with me present and ask any questions,” he said. “I’m not going to stop them. What we don’t want is another situation where they’re doing a full-blown interrogation where they’re standing up and accusing her and they’re showing pictures of her missing girl and they’re confronting her with all this evidence.”
Picerno said his client has a right to counsel and “a right not to be abused or threatened by detectives.”
The family is planning a vigil for Wednesday evening with family, friends and supporters.
“We want to thank everyone for continuing to help look for Lisa and for the overwhelming support,” the parents said in a statement this week, according to ABC News’ Kansas City affiliate KMBC-TV. “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. Until that day happens our family will continue to be incomplete without her.”
At least one KCPD detective and one FBI agent work on the case every day, police said. They have investigated over 1,600 tips and said they are looking into about a dozen tips at present. Five hundred of the tips have been reported sightings across the U.S. and internationally, police said. Each reported sighting has been investigated, but none were determined to be Lisa.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire