Missing Mo. girl's parents say they're cooperating

October 7, 2011 - 3:05 AM
Baby Missing

The parents of missing 10-month old Lisa Irwin, Jeremy Irwin and Deborah Bradley, speak during a news conference in Kansas City, Mo., Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 5, 2011. The parents made a tearful plea for the child's safe return Wednesday, nearly two days after she disappeared, begging her abductor to drop her off someplace safe. (AP Photo/The Kansas City Star, Mike Ransdell)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The parents of a missing 10-month-old Missouri girl planned to make a public statement Friday after police announced that the couple had stopped talking with detectives investigating the baby's disappearance.

Jeremy Irwin and Deborah Bradley didn't speak to the media Thursday night after a police news conference accusing them of no longer cooperating, but relatives read a statement insisting they never had stopped. The family said the couple would have more to say Friday.

"We've been cooperative from day one, and we continue to assist the police with the investigation," the family statement said.

After their Thursday night news conference, authorities announced they were shutting down the command post about a mile from the family home. Police spokesman Darin Snapp sent out a news release saying authorities believed they had done everything they could "regarding geographic searches."

Authorities released few other details and reiterated they still have no suspects in their search for Lisa Irwin, whose parents say was snatched from her crib sometime late Monday or early Tuesday. Kansas City police spokesman Steve Young declined to elaborate on what would happen to the investigation without the parents' cooperation.

"Tonight, they decided to stop talking to detectives, and I don't have to illustrate how that affects the investigation. That speaks for itself," Young said.

Earlier in the day, Irwin and Bradley spoke to the media about frantically searching their home for any sign of their daughter earlier this week after her father came home from work early and she wasn't in her crib. They said they found an open window, an unlocked front door and house lights blazing, and later discovered that their three cellphones were gone.

But Young said the parents' claim that whoever took their daughter also stole their cellphones hadn't produced any leads.

"They told us three cellphones were missing. It hasn't produced anything we can go forward with," Young said. "The investigation is directed and handled by hard information."

Family members didn't take questions at their news conference Thursday night, and police didn't immediately return a call for comment about the family statement.

Lisa has blue eyes and blonde hair, is 30 inches tall and weighs around 28 pounds. She was last seen wearing purple shorts and a purple shirt with pictures of white kittens.

Investigators focused their search Thursday on a heavily wooded area, sewers and an industrial park. About 100 officers scoured the industrial area and adjacent woods, while others were lifting drain covers and crawling inside.

Earlier in the day, a cousin of the baby's mother said Lisa's parents have given police more than a dozen names as they try to think of potential suspects or people who paid especially close attention to the child.

"We're scraping for anything, anyone who was at the house, who looked at her strange. Anything," said Mike Lerette.

Irwin said he immediately knew something was wrong when he returned home from work about 4 a.m. Tuesday. He checked on their other children, 6-year-old and 8-year-old boys, then went to Lisa's room and discovered her gone.

"I said, 'What do you mean she is not in her crib?'" said Bradley, who had checked on her daughter about five hours earlier. "I just knew, you know, that something was really wrong. We ran around the house and screaming for her, but she was nowhere."

Bradley said that's when they discovered the phones had been taken, guessing it was to delay them from calling police. As she hugged her crying sons, Bradley said, Irwin checked outside and eventually contacted police.

"All I can think of is that maybe somebody wanted a baby," she said.

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Associated Press writer Heather Hollingsworth in Kansas City contributed to this report.