The national television crews have moved on and few signs remain in a Northland neighborhood about the case that grabbed the country's attention.
But six months after Jeremy Irwin called 911 to report that his daughter had been kidnapped, Lisa Irwin remains missing. Her family quietly marked the anniversary of the disappearance of the little girl they call "Pumpkin Pie."
He said Wednesday was an especially difficult day for the grief-stricken family.
"Obviously, it's a pretty hard time for us today," he said.
Irwin attended a balloon release in his daughter's behalf held in front of the family home on Lister Avenue Wednesday evening.
"It doesn't get any easier," he said. "She is still out there and we're still looking."
About 30 people attended the balloon release. Irwin thanked everyone who is helping search for his daughter or passing along tips.
"Thank you everybody for coming out and showing support," he said.
Lisa's mother, Debbie Bradley, did not attend the event.
Irwin said he and Bradley are working to maintain a normal life for their two sons in the wake of all the "craziness." He said the family is trying to stay strong and has private plans to mark the anniversary.
"Hopefully we will find her soon," he said.
The Kansas City Star, KCTV5's reporting partner, said Lisa's bedroom in her Northland home remains virtually as it did on Oct. 3, 2011. Stuffed animals line her crib while photos and other personal items adorn the walls.
"We knew from the beginning that time works against us in these cases," Capt. Steve Young, spokesman for the Kansas City Police Department, told KCTV5 Wednesday.
But he emphasized that the passage of time, "doesn't diminish the dedication, effort and commitment that detectives are using toward the case."
Police have cleared more than 1,500 leads. Young said some leads remain to be checked out, but tips are prioritized and those remaining are not considered promising.
Irwin and Bradley reported their 10-month-old daughter missing at 4 a.m. Oct. 4, 2011. They said she was snatched from her crib and they had nothing to do with her disappearance, but Bradley has said she expects to be arrested in connection with the case.
Because police have honed in on Bradley in particular, the couple's defense attorneys have declined to allow them to submit to separate interviews. The couple and their Kansas City attorney last met with police on Feb. 2. The meeting was facilitated by Kansas City area resident Craig Hill of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
A representative for the group refused last month to answer questions about the meeting, referring questions to police.
The short meeting did not lead to any significant developments, police have said, but have not discussed the meeting indepth.
Police have not publicly identified any suspects or persons of interest. However, police and the couple's attorneys admit that police have been unable to clear Lisa's parents.
John Picerno, the couple's Kansas City attorney, told the Star that the parents are available to investigators.
"There is no evidence that I am aware of that points to her (Bradley) in the remotest way of being involved," he said.
But Bradley was evasive and lied in public interviews about her actions in the hours before Lisa was reported missing.
Bradley initially described putting her daughter to bed at 10:30 p.m. with her favorite toys and blanket along with a pacifier. The Amber Alert issued said she was last seen at 10:30 p.m. by her mother.
"I gave her bottle and put her to sleep, and that was when we last saw her," Bradley said.
After police obtained surveillance video of Bradley and her brother purchasing a container of wine at a Northland grocery store, Bradley publicly revised the timeline of events.
She said she spent hours outside on the stoop of her home drinking with a next door neighbor whose marriage had fallen apart and whose husband moved out that night.
Bradley claimed that she had been drinking enough that night to black out and that she in fact saw her sick daughter last at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 3, 2011, and did not follow the family's normal nighttime routine. She also could not, or would not, answer key questions about that night.
Kansas City police maintain that the disappearance is still classified as a missing or abducted child and the Crimes Against Children detectives - not homicide detectives - are investigating the case.
However, when police sought on Oct. 18, 2011 a search warrant for the home on Lister, police listed the items that they wanted to seize. Three blocks were checked.
The last one checked said the extensive search would include seeking "deceased human fetus or corpse."
A cadaver dog on Oct. 17, 2011 hit on the scent of a dead body on an area of the floor beside the bed of Lisa's parents. Police will not say whether other cadaver dogs were brought into the home and also detected the presence of a dead body, but standard law enforcement practices would lead police to have more than one cadaver dog brought in to confirm the findings.
"During an investigation, there are a lot of pieces that need to be explored. Clearly the cadaver dog is public record," Young said. "Everyone knows a cadaver dog was involved. That was one of the many parts of this investigation - unless driven by more evidence the case will remain with the Crimes Against Children Unit."
Young said police remain hopeful they will be able to crack the case of Lisa's disappearance.
The family did not seek any attention from local or national reporters to mark the 6-month anniversary or to push the case back into the national spotlight. Irwin and Bradley last spoke publicly on the 4-month anniversary.
In March, a website popped up about the case. FindLisaIrwin.com was created by Bradley, aimed at finding her daughter, who the parents believe has been sold or being raised by someone else who wanted a beautiful baby. Updates were made and comments from supportive people from across the country were shared.
But just before the 6-month mark, the site was pulled down for maintenance. The site was back operational Wednesday after some changes were made.
Picerno told the Star that Bradley has given more than 100 pages of handwritten notes and other materials to investigators about her thoughts on the case and her recollections on the hours in question.
Lisa's paternal aunt, Ashley Irwin, issued a statement exclusively to CNN's Jim Spellman.
"At the 6-month mark, it really hits home just how long she's been gone," Ashley Irwin said.
The poignant statement said she knows her niece will have aged and have perhaps longer hair that may have darkened.
"I think about how adorable she would be in a little Easter dress and think about Mother's Day around the corner and it breaks my heart," she wrote. "The whole situation is extremely confusing, saddening and frustrating at the same time - it's definitely overwhelming. The lack of information is difficult to accept in a modern society such as ours, but we keep hoping and praying for a miracle."
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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