NBC, msnbc.com and news services
updated 10/11/2011 5:03:43 PM ET 2011-10-11T21:03:43

Kansas City authorities searched a cistern at a vacant house Tuesday but came up empty again in their hunt for a missing 10-month-old girl.

Local firefighters took turns being lowered into the cistern, a receptacle designed to hold rainwater and other liquid, beneath a backyard deck at a home neighbors said had been empty for about four years. Afterward, police said they still had no clues and no suspects in Lisa Irwin's disappearance.

Lisa's parents reported her missing after her father returned home from work around 4 a.m. last Tuesday. Her parents said someone must have crept into their home while the child's mother and brothers slept and snatched the girl.

The search of the property came a day after a court ordered Kansas City television stations to submit all footage of interviews with the girl's family and friends.

Bradley has said police told her last week she failed a lie detector test. She has denied having anything to do with her daughter's disappearance.

Grand jury subpoenas from Clay County Circuit Court were sent late Monday to at least four network affiliates in Kansas City, according to their websites. The subpoenas asked the television stations to submit "all footage, including raw footage of any interviews or statements given by neighbors, family or friends of the family, regarding missing baby, Lisa Irwin."

Video: Missing baby Lisa: What are police doing? (on this page)

The subpoenas, which were requested by the Clay County prosecutor's office, said at least two of the stations were told to appear with the footage in court on Oct. 18.

Jim Roberts, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office, said the subpoenas were needed to prevent broadcasters from destroying video they might otherwise discard because it could be needed later. The subpoenas were issued by a sitting grand jury, not on called specifically for this case.

Detectives and crime scene investigators were at the family's home Monday for more than two hours scouring areas of the backyard and poking through shrubbery and grass in the back of the house and in neighbors' yards. Police earlier in the investigation searched a landfill, nearby woods, an industrial park and sewers in their effort to follow up on more than 300 tips.

"Our detectives are doing everything possible you would expect them to do in this case," said Capt. Steve Young, spokesman for the Kansas City Police Department. He declined to comment on the subpoenas.

Image: Baby Lisa Irwin
Kansas City Police
Baby Lisa Irwin has been missing since Oct. 4.

Bryan McGruder, vice president for news at WDAF, said the station would provide all footage it had aired about the case. But he said the station would not hand over any raw footage because workers "routinely recycle what we use."

R. Michael Cassidy, a professor at Boston College Law School, said there could be several reasons for seeking the footage. He said investigators may want the footage to find inconsistencies in parents' accounts of the events surrounding their daughter's disappearance.

"It could mean that they have one or both of the parents as suspects, and they are developing evidence of everything they said in the past and prior to the arrest," Cassidy said Tuesday. "To show that someone's story has shifted over time can also be very damning."

Police may also want the footage to review "the landscape around the house," shortly after the disappearance was reported.

"It could be that these visuals of the immediate area are important," Cassidy said.

Bradley, the mother, is preparing to be arrested, the baby's aunt said earlier Tuesday.

"It's what the police do," Ashley Irwin told ABC's "Good Morning America." "They don't have any leads so they just have to pin it on somebody."

But police refuted that an arrest was imminent, telling The Kansas City Star it "was absolutely not true."

“We don’t feel any pressure to accuse anybody,” Young said. “We are under pressure to do what we can to find a child.”

Ashley Irwin told ABC she didn't believe her sister-in-law could have anything to do with Lisa's disappearance.

Video: Missing baby’s parents: ‘We just need her back‘

"She doesn't care what people say about her, she doesn't care what people think about her, all she cares about it getting Lisa home," Ashley said. "She's genuine; she loves that child. It's her baby … she would never do anything to hurt her."

Last Thursday, Bradley pleaded for her daughter's safe return on NBC's TODAY Show .

“Please bring her home,’’ she said tearfully. “Drop her off anywhere safe — the fire department, a church, a police station. Bring her somewhere safe, no questions asked. We just want our daughter back. We’ll do anything to get her.’’

The Associated Press, NBC News and msnbc.com staff contributed to this report.

Video: Missing baby Lisa: What are police doing?

  1. Closed captioning of: Missing baby Lisa: What are police doing?

    >>> we begin this half hour with the search for 10-month-old lisa irwin , one week since she was last seen in her crib and police seem no closer to finding her. nbc's peter alexander is there.

    >> reporter: good morning. it's been one full week since baby lisa disappeared. she will turn 11-month-old today and while her family should be celebrating her' still everyone searching for the missing girl and so are investigators who put new focus on a drainage ditch in the family's backyard. does the irwin 's family's backyard hold secrets that could help solve the disappearance of baby lisa ? investigators turned over rocks and pulling back thick brush. detectives also entered the family's garage looking for potential evidence. just hours earlier, lisa 's father, jeremy irwin returned to the family's home but only long enough to pick up the mail. neither he nor baby lisa 's mother deborah bradley has spoken publicly. the family gave nbc these new photos lisa , whom they affectionately called pumpkin pie . taken two days before she vanished from her crib. in 19 years you've never seen a case like this?

    >> not that i have seen for.

    >> reporter: fbi agents have knocked on doors asking about a homeless man in his 20s last seen riding a red bicycle who may have done handyman work in the area. this weekend they tried to recreate how a kidnaper might have broken home in the middle of the night undetected. police say there are no suspects they're not ruling any one or anything out including whether lisa 's family knows more about what happened to the 11-month-old.

    >> please, bring her home.

    >> reporter: last week kansas city police said the parents had stopped cooperating.

    >> they know the child. they were you know maybe one of our best bets to help find this child.

    >> reporter: authorities say lisa 's parents began cooperating once again this weekend but police have now subpoenaed raw video from local tv news stations of interviews with lisa 's parents, family members and other friends.

    >> there was no witness to the abduction of lisa irwin . law enforcement always has to look closely at the people closest to the child, and that's uncomfortable for families but it's something you have to go through.

    >> reporter: abduction or not, authorities have been flooded with more than 300 tips, called in from at least 22 states from california to florida.

    >> what we're really looking for is specific information about a suspect that may have been at the house that night, about a suspect vehicle, anything suspicious that evening, during the time frame that we're looking at.

    >> reporter: anything to help bring baby lisa home.

    >> we hope america will remember is ultimately the story is about this little girl , and lisa irwin 's still missing.

    >> reporter: decades of statistics on infant abductions show that when a baby does disappear from a home, it is very rarely a kidnapping by a complete stranger, but if that is the case, it's a very, very high rate that they are found safely so ann, there is good reason today for hope.

    >> peter alexander , thank you.

    >>> captain steve young is with the kansas city police department . captain young, good morning.

    >> good morning.

    >> with 300 tips from 22 states, why do you still say that the kansas city police department is "at the mercy of the next good idea"?

    >> well, as you know, i mean that's a whole lot of leads to have tried to track down and to have nothing come of that is unusual, but we try to not get too discouraged. we're happy to have any information we can and the detectives spent a lot of time sitting around as well, brainstorming trying to think of something that we haven't done yet and if something comes up we're going to try it.

    >> this homeless man the fbi is, according to neighbors, asking people about, how much is this man the focus of the investigation? he has not been seen since lisa 's disappearance.

    >> reporter: well honestly i don't have a great amount of detail on him himself, but we just know that he's somebody that frequents the area and we haven't talked to him yet. i don't want people to read a whole lot more into that and i don't want to get into explaining every lead we have.

    >> at this point, are investigators spending most of their time looking at the possibility that lisa was abducted or are they spending most of their time looking at the possibility that a family member might have been involved?

    >> we're spending our time looking at everything. our command post is still operational. we have detectives farmed in and out of it all day long, chasing leads as they come and getting a lot of help from local police departments and some federal agencies as well, so we're spending our time everywhere is really the best answer i can give you.

    >> we understand the parents are again cooperating. you were the one who said that they weren't cooperating last week. has the investigation been hurt by the time lag there, by those days where they weren't talking, where you weren't communicating with them?

    >> well, i mean we don't really want to look backward and try to assess or guesstimate the damage. we're at the one-week mark and we're glad the parents are communicating with us again, no doubt about it, it's the best thing for the case.

    >> i want to ask one more question about the polygraph test , the mother in this case said she failed her polygraph test according to police. can you confirm that?

    >> well, again i'm not going to talk about the details of the case. they're free to talk about whatever they would like.

    >> are you going to have her take another polygraph? are you going to have the father of lisa take a polygraph test , as he said he would, on our program?

    >> well, i think it's fair to assume that the detectives have, you know, some ideas of what they would like to do but i'm not going to open up that door to where i am confirming or denying every move the detectives make.

    >> what can you tell us then about the chances that you feel of finding lisa at this point, given where you are, a week after she disappeared?

    >> well, we know that the bottom line is, it's a 10-month-old. somebody had something to do with it. if it were a toddler there's the remote possibility that the child could have just walked away. that's not possible in this case, we're convinced, so we're happy to keep getting leads and tips that come in and we know that it just takes the one correct phone call or one right piece of information to really give this thing a head of steam so that's what we're hoping for.

    >> captain steve young, may you get that one tip. thank you so much, this morning.

    >> yeah, we're hoping to, thank you.

    >> and if you have any information in this case you're asked to call the kansas city police. the number is 816-474-tips. that's 816-474-8477. now let's


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments