Investigation Image: When You’ll Know Something Happened In The Lisa Irwin Case

The sad thing is this is about a little girl.

Since Lisa Irwin disappeared, I have listened to more theories, seen more detectives, and heard the case compared to a “circus” more than any story I’ve ever covered.  If you’ve read this blog even a little, you know I’m not big on exaggeration.

Lisa Irwin was 10 months old when she disappeared.

Lisa Irwin should be at her home on North Lister in Kansas City, Missouri.  The fact that she’s not brought police.  The fact that her mother was the last person Lisa was with brought questions.

The fact that nothing’s really happened since brought pressure.


As almost everyone in Kansas City (and a good portion of the country) knows by now, Lisa Irwin disappeared from her home in early October.  The exact time of the disappearance isn’t known, but her father, Jeremy Irwin, called 911 around 4:00 a.m. on October 4th after returning home from his overnight job.

An Amber Alert followed.

Kansas City Fire search and rescue crews prepare to rappel down a wooded hill during an Amber Alert on October 4th, the day Lisa Irwin's parents reported her missing.

Lisa had last been seen by her mother, Deborah Bradley, who told police she checked on the infant girl sleeping in her crib around 10:30 the night before.  This timeline would later change by several hours, and Bradley admitted she got drunk that night.

To say the trail went cold is an understatement.


Since Lisa vanished, the Kansas City Police Department, the FBI, and the Kansas City Fire Department have turned a small portion of the Northland upside down.

Investigators combed Lisa’s neighborhood, firefighters rappelled down a wooded hill and into an abandoned well, and police found soiled diapers in a condemned house.

Kansas City Police CSI crews prepare metal detectors for a canvass of the Irwin family's property on October 8th. Lisa's parents gave consent for this search.

One month to the day since Lisa’s disappearance, police have checked more than 1,000 tips.

None of it led to Lisa.  More than that, police have indicated none of it led to even a shred of evidence on what happened to her.


The first curveball came two days after Lisa’s disappearance.  Police announced the child’s parents stopped cooperating with investigators.  The strategy was clear:  pressure the parents.  Investigators believed Jeremy Irwin and Deborah Bradley at the very least weren’t being as forthcoming as possible.

This move backfired as family members vehemently denied any lack of cooperation, pledged to do whatever it took to find Lisa, and a very public distrust between family and detectives formed.

Bradley told reporters that detectives accused her of harming and disposing of her child, even admitting she was told she failed a lie detector test.

The circus arrived in Kansas City about this time.


Oh, the distractions.

Monitoring the Irwin family’s movements began to feel less like journalism and more like paparazzi.  Lisa’s parents only doing interviews with network television crews began to feel less like urgent, consistent pleas for help and more like handpicked publicity.

Then, the handlers arrived.

One week after Lisa’s disappearance, Bill Stanton announced himself as a private investigator and Joe Tacopina later stepped in as the attorney for Lisa’s parents.

The New York duo came across as having at least as much interest in the attention that came with helping Lisa’s family as the help itself.  The two have made a total of three Kansas City visits I’m aware of (twice for Stanton, once for Tacopina), all just long enough to make an appearance in front of network cameras.

I’ve had no interaction with Tacopina and very little with Stanton.  However, I texted Stanton last Saturday asking whether he planned any announcements for the weekend or if the plan was to lay low.  His response:  “Laying loooooow :).”  The strangeness of this text during a serious investigation aside, Stanton didn’t lay low.  He gave The Today Show a tour of the home less than 24 hours after sending that text.

Throw in feuding attorneys for Lisa’s parents (Tacopina fired local counsel Cyndy Short after a week and a half of pro bono work) and you have the type of situation that led one local defense attorney to give Kansas City’s Fox affiliate a very telling quote.

“Once again, instead of ‘where’s the child, what happened,’ we’re talking about who (Deborah Bradley’s) lawyer is?  Really?  That’s sad.”


When a story drags on long enough, every angle’s been exhausted, and every neighbor’s talked to a camera, there isn’t always a clear-cut “what’s next” for journalists.  Any tangent becomes an angle.  Sometimes, a forced one.

Yes, please keep an eye out for this little girl.  That Lisa needs help, whether she’s unharmed or otherwise right now, should always be the focus.

However, as you watch the coverage and hear about “new details” and listen to an exclusive interview from someone eager to provide the face time, know that there are only two things left in this story.

If the child’s still missing and no one’s under arrest, nothing’s changed.


3 Responses to “Investigation Image: When You’ll Know Something Happened In The Lisa Irwin Case”

  1. Thinker Belle Says:

    Looking for an angle? Hmmmm…….here’s my top 10 suggestions:
    1) Why is some rolly-polly police officer doing a re-enactment of crawling through a window when it is obvious that anyone not yet stricken with rigor mortise (sp?) could jump through it?
    2)Why would some baby snatching thief jump through that window and re-attach the screen in the first place? Especially if he/she were to walk about flipping on light switches, stealing phones on counter, and undressing a baby and walking out the front door as if no one would notice. No one did, apparently.
    3) Why did the mother not peep in on the baby on her way to get a wine refill?
    4)Was the back door unlocked while they were on the front patio drinking and smoking and more than likely discussing her neighbor’s recent separation and all her woes? It probably was since there were more than just those two women there and all those kids.
    5) Could the baby be heard if she cried from outside? How close to the front of the house was her room? Is it possible someone-not mentally stable- just waltzed in and took over?
    6)What does the FBI mean by the local lady woman lawyer not being productive enough?
    7)If they really have these great cadaver dogs that can smell corpses under water, then why don’t they just breed them and let them do all the searching instead of getting all these volunteer search parties together. Yep! Just unleash a pack of them in certain areas and let them do their stuff…no more BS. But, then again, they like the BS…it sells and they don’t look so silly if they know there are others out there that may be dumber.
    8)Why are people calling the family and analyzing them? Do they really only want to talk about things ‘germaine’ to the case?
    9)Why would the police call the mother ‘poor white trash?’ Does it really take one to know one? Do they really only provide service to the royalty within their district?
    10) What’s in it for these bloggers that want to tell them what to do and those that criticize them when they’ve never even met them? Are they the ones that are doing this and are they trying to get others to pin down the victims so they’ll have more time to get away?

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