News

FBI Searches For Missing Mo. Baby In Kansas Landfill

View Comments
Lisa Irwin

Lisa Irwin

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) FBI agents scoured a Kansas landfill for the second time
this week as the search for a missing 10-month-old Missouri girl entered its
fourth day and just hours after the child’s mother said police accused her of
being involved.

Agents and Kansas City police spent about two hours
Friday at the Deffenbaugh Industries landfill in the suburb of Shawnee, FBI
spokeswoman Bridget Patton said. She wouldn’t discuss details but confirmed the
activity was related to the search for Lisa Irwin, whose parents said was
snatched from her crib in the middle of the night.

Patton said it was
the second time the FBI had been at the landfill, which investigators also
searched Tuesday the same day the baby was reported missing and it wasn’t
uncommon to search an area several times. Kansas City police spokesman Steve
Young said Saturday the search “didn’t lead to anything” and “the only thing
that motivated that search was brainstorming of `What haven’t we done yet?”’

Police said agents also went back to the family’s home and used metal
detectors to search the yard.

Lisa’s mother, Deborah Bradley, said in an
interview with The Associated Press earlier Thursday that police told her she
failed a lie detector test and accused her of being involved in her baby’s
disappearance.

Bradley said police never showed her the test results and
she denied knowing anything about what happened to her daughter. She and Lisa’s
father, Jeremy Irwin, said their daughter was abducted sometime late Monday
night or early Tuesday morning.

“They said I failed (a polygraph
test),” Bradley, 25, said. “And I continued to say that’s not possible because
I don’t know where she’s at and I did not do this.”

Irwin, 28, said he
also offered to take a test but police told him it wasn’t necessary.

Young declined to comment on whether the parents have been tested,
citing the ongoing investigation.

The couple said police have treated
them like suspects and that Bradley in particular has been preparing for the
possibility of charges. She said detectives told her: “`You did it. You did it.
And we have nothing.”’

Experts said the frustration is understandable
but that police often focus on close relatives in such cases, in part because
statistics show that far more infants and young children are killed by a parent
than a stranger.

“Suspicion almost always falls heavily on the parents,
especially when it’s young kids,” said David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes
Against Children Research Center based at the University of New Hampshire.

“For a parent who has been a victim of a true stranger abduction, this
is devastating. You’re dealing with the loss of a child, and police are
considering you as one of the prime suspects,” Finkelhor said. “You can get
non-cooperative because the family is feeling mistreated by police.”

Police said Lisa’s parents decided to stop cooperating with
investigators late Thursday, but the couple released a statement saying they
never stopped and reiterated Friday their focus was “to bring Lisa home.”

Detectives haven’t talked to the parents again, Young said Saturday. He
declined to comment on a broadcast report that a teenage neighbor had been
questioned.

“The only thing I can say is we are following up all
leads,” he said. “If anything has anything to follow we are checking it out.”

Bradley and Irwin, both dressed in jeans and sweatshirts, held hands and
appeared close to tears several times during their 20-minute interview with AP.

“We need her. We have to have her. She’s our link that ties everybody
together,” Irwin said.

Irwin, an electrician, said he returned from
work around 4 a.m. Tuesday and discovered Lisa was missing. Bradley said she
last checked on her daughter around 10:30 p.m., then fell asleep in her bed with
her 6-year-old son and a stray kitten they found earlier in the day.

The
parents said they frantically searched for Lisa but found only their front door
unlocked, a window open and house lights blazing, lending credence to the theory
that the baby may have been snatched by an intruder. They also said the family’s
three cellphones were missing, though police said that information provided no
leads.

“The main problem I think that we’re facing is that everybody
(else) has an alibi,” Irwin said. “I was at work. I’ve been cleared. All these
other people we were worried about … the FBI said they’ve been cleared. The
only one you can’t clear is the mother that’s at home when it happens `cause
there’s nobody else there.”

Bradley said she understood why
investigators would be looking closely at the family, especially her.

“You see stuff like this everywhere. You watch the TV, and there’s some
crazy person doing something insane. There’s been too many times stuff has
happened,” she said. “They have to assume what’s worst … but it felt like it
was taken really, really far.”

Ernie Allen, president of the National
Center for Missing and Exploited Children, noted that most infants abducted by a
stranger usually are eventually found alive but said investigators’ seemed to be
taking a normal approach as they search for Lisa.

“Part of what we
train law enforcement chief executives around the country to do it doesn’t seem
fair in a moment of crisis you polygraph, interview and identify those closest
to the child,” Allen said. “You work a variety of scenarios and continue to
pursue them until you can rule them out.”

Copyright Associated Press

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,280 other followers