Orlin Wagner  /  AP
Authorities lift a pipe into a cistern at a vacant house in Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday. Crews spent hours emptying and then searching a 36-foot well at the abandoned home in the neighborhood where Lisa Irwin was reported missing a week ago, but once again authorities came up empty-handed.
updated 10/12/2011 3:33:03 PM ET 2011-10-12T19:33:03

Authorities searching for a missing baby in Kansas City have marched shoulder-to-shoulder through woods, rappelled down cliffs and combed through landfills. They've interrogated her parents for hours and called in firefighters to search a 36-foot well that seemed like a possible place to hide a tiny body.

But after receiving more than 300 tips and chasing down many others, police still have no idea what happened to Lisa Irwin, a fair-haired, big-eyed baby, whose first birthday is now only a month away.

Police on Wednesday were scouring a new wooded area with all-terrain vehicles and search dogs just east of the family's home, though they said the efforts weren't prompted by a tip. On Tuesday, police searched a nearby abandoned home and cistern, while more than 30 detectives pursued additional leads.

In the week since Lisa's parents reported her missing, investigators also have searched their home with metal detectors and re-enacted a possible abduction — all while camera crews film from the street.

Lisa's mother, Deborah Bradley, said she checked on her daughter late Oct. 3, but the baby was gone early the next morning when her father, Jeremy Irwin, returned home from a late shift at work. The couple told police they frantically searched their home but found only that the house lights were on and a window was open.

Police spokesman Capt. Steve Young has said police are pursuing all leads and taking a no-holds barred approach to the investigation.

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

"I challenge you to name something, and I can assure you we have done it twice," Young said early in the investigation. But he has also said all along that he and other police can't comment on the investigation.

Lisa's parents appeared on television several times that first week but have since retreated from the media, saying they want to focus all their attention on finding Lisa. They declined to comment Tuesday. A relative said family members had watched part of the well search on television.

Private investigator joins search
A private security consultant said Wednesday that a "high-asset" family he knows hired him to investigate the baby's disappearance. Bill Stanton, of New York, said he would be working on the case for an undetermined amount of time and that he was "hopeful this child is safe and alive." He would not identify who hired him but said it was not the child's family.

A spokesman for the baby's family said Stanton would be handling media questions, but did not comment on Stanton's role, if any, in the investigation.

Young said Stanton would not have access to investigative files. "He will have access to anything the general public has access to," Young said.

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

John Hamilton, a former Kansas City police officer who now teaches criminal justice at Park University in nearby Parkville, Mo., said officers are as determined as anyone to find the child.

"If there is any pressure, it's to find the (baby) safe and bring her home," Hamilton said. "Another thing people don't realize, and this happens in a majority of big cases, is the prosecutor's office and police are working hand-in-hand on this."

The Clay County Prosecutor's office did not return a call seeking comment Tuesday afternoon.

As for Wednesday, the beginning of the search's second week, Young, the police spokesman, said police would carry on.

"It's fair to assume a small amount of frustration on behalf of everybody," he said. "But it doesn't change the direction at all. ... Tomorrow morning, I'm sure they'll get everybody back in the (command post) and hand out leads and keep people coming and going."

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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


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