New search on baby Lisa's first birthday - KCTV5 News

Search for Lisa

New search on baby Lisa's first birthday

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Lisa Irwin turned 1 year old Friday as the Kansas City Police Department searched a Northland area for the missing baby.

KCPD spokesman Capt. Steve Young said an area near the Stroud's chicken restaurant was searched again.

"Just the next idea, nothing more," Young said in email to KCTV5.

This came the day after Lisa's two older, half-brothers met with a trained child specialist with the FBI.

John Picerno, a Kansas City attorney for baby Lisa's parents, discussed the interviews with the brothers in a news conference Friday morning.

He said the boys were in "good spirits" after the interviews. He said Lisa's parents, Debbie Bradley and Jeremy Irwin, took the boys for a fast-food meal afterward and purposefully did not ask them about their interviews.

Picerno said the boys are traumatized by their sisters' disappearance. He said when he first met with them, Irwin's 8-year-old son asked him, "Are you going to help us find Lisa?"

Picerno said the woman who conducted the separate interviews with the boys has been doing forensic interviews for 10 years and has done more than 1,000 such interviews. He said the entire interviews were videotaped at Irwin and Bradley's request on the advice of legal counsel.

The parents' New York attorney had canceled planned interviews two weeks ago. Picerno said the delays since then had been working around the schedule of the FBI specialist and that Thursday was the first day it was possible for her to come from Washington to Kansas City.

Kansas City police have asked for the parents to submit to separate interviews in which tough questions will be asked. Young reiterated Friday that police are not asking for Bradley and Irwin's attorneys to be excluded from the interviews, but that the couple not be interviewed together.

Picerno outlined the hours that Bradley and Irwin submitted to interviews in the first days that their daughter went missing. He said neither he nor Tacopina will allow Irwin and Bradley to submit to hostile, accusatory interrogation techniques by authorities.

Altogether, they have been interrogated more than 30 hours on five occasions, he said.

"This bit about no cooperation is just, is just fantasy," Picerno said. "They've cooperated from Day One."

Lisa's father reported her missing about 4 a.m. Oct. 4. Irwin and Bradley contend that a kidnapper abducted her from her crib as she was sleeping

The boys were 5 and 8 years old when Lisa went missing and were originally interviewed in the hours following.

Kansas City Police and the FBI have not said if the boys revealed anything helpful in the interviews.

Picerno said neither he nor the parents purposefully talked to the boys about their interview. He said because of the intense media presence outside of the home, the boys spent the night with another relative after the interviews concluded Thursday evening.

Irwin and Bradley are in seclusion Friday and plan no public appearances to mark their daughter's birthday.

"That is a private matter and will remain a private matter," New York attorney Joe Tacopina said on behalf of his clients.

To mark Lisa's birthday, a balloon release was held outside her North Lister Avenue Friday evening.

Tacopina was in New York on Friday and conducted an in-studio interview with a morning television program that last week filmed Lisa's brothers trick-or-treating. He said it is a tough day for the family but they still believe Lisa is alive.

Bill Stanton, a New York detective who has been retained by an anonymous benefactor to work with Irwin and Bradley, gave KCTV5 an update on the case Thursday.

When Stanton joined the case last month, he said he would be bringing a team of investigators to help unravel the mystery. But in the weeks since then, he has served more as a spokesman for the family and admitted he is mainly working as an "observer" in the case.

He said he appreciates the work that the Kansas City Police Department and FBI are doing on the case. He said he has "utmost faith" in the investigators.

Stanton said the parents continue to cooperate with investigators. He said he purposefully has said few words to Lisa's brothers other than pleasantries. He said it is important that neither he nor the parents be seen as coaching the boys or tampering with the investigation.

"I did not want to get in the way of the investigation," he said. "Everybody has been screaming why weren't the boys interviewed and now they've been interviewed and now they will say they were coached, no matter what the findings."

Stanton also discussed those close to the case other than the parents who could offer interesting insights.

Police have questioned John "Jersey" Tanko, a handyman who worked in the area, and James Brando, who lived next door to baby Lisa and moved out just hours before her parents reported her missing.

Kansas City Police said they have "moved on" from both men, but KCPD spokesman Capt. Steve Young said Friday that no one has been cleared in case new information arises that warrants a review. Tanko is in jail on separate charges.

Brando told CNN that he cooperated with detectives. He said he took and passed a polygraph test.

Stanton said he finds Brando "interesting," but he is not a focus.

"He's not the prime person I'm looking at this," he said.

However, he said Tanko and his former girlfriend, Megan Wright, do have his attention.

"We keep hearing his name again and again," Stanton said.

Wright has said her telephone received a phone call from a phone associated with Bradley and Irwin in the hours before Lisa was reported missing. Wright has said she did not have the phone at the time the 50-second call was received.

Wright originally said the call came in around 8:30 p.m. but this week said the phone call came in at 11:57 p.m.

Police have not confirmed Wright's account and Stanton does not know what the telephone records for the phones associated with Irwin and Bradley show. He said he has seen part of the records, but not all of them and has not reviewed them extensively.

He did not explain why, as an investigator, that he has not looked at the records in detail. He also did not explain whether anyone associated with Irwin or Bradley has a connection to Wright.

CNN reported this week that neither Stanton nor any of his investigators have interviewed Wright.

Stanton said he is still convinced that Lisa's parents had nothing to do with her disappearance and that the focus should be getting her home.

"When you start adding up what you know what you don't know and what you think you know most indicators are pointing outside the home," he said.

Kansas City police said more than 1,200 tips have been reported and detectives have cleared 900.

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