Missing Baby Lisa Irwin: Police and Parents Spar on Tot's Birthday

On Lisa Irwin's first birthday, investigators and attorneys are again at odds.

November 11, 2011, 10:06 AM

Nov. 11, 2011 — -- The parents of missing Missouri tot Lisa Irwin marked the girl's first birthday today by holding a news conference in which their lawyer claimed that police have indicated that they are suspects in Lisa's disappearance.

The police denied indicating to the parents that they are suspects, marking the latest round of sparring between the parents and police.

Lisa disappeared from her Missouri home on the night of Oct. 3 and her parents have maintained since then that the little girl was abducted from her crib.

When asked if he thought police consider parents Deborah Bradley, 25, and Jeremy Irwin, 29, suspects, criminal defense attorney John Picerno replied, "Absolutely. They've told them as much, Debbie in particular."

Picerno said he was "not at liberty" to elaborate further on the issue.

The Kansas City Police Department denies the claim that Bradley and Irwin are suspects.

"We don't have any suspects," Police Capt. Steve Young told ABCNews.com today. "We still would like to speak to them again."

Police say Bradley and Irwin have not agreed to sit down separately for extensive police interviews since Oct. 8 and say there are still questions they would like answered from the couple. Authorities say the parents have responded to questions regarding specific tips or issues, but have not agreed to unrestricted questioning.

Picerno said that Lisa's parents have participated in over 30 hours of interviewing and, "At this point, there's nothing more to be said." He said that if the police wish to ask specific questions, both he and Joe Tacopina are open to taking the questions and relaying them to the parents.

Young replied, "I don't think it works that way."

Tacopina said that the infant's first birthday is a somber day for the family, especially Lisa's parents.

"This is a very tough day for them," Tacopina said on "Good Morning America." "This is not a day of celebration right now. Obviously, they're very hopeful. They believe that Lisa is still alive, but they're going to recognize this day and deal with this day very privately. This is not going to be something that they wish to share with anyone."

Dozens of supporters have left birthday messages on Lisa's Facebook page, along with photos of cakes and pink donuts with sprinkles.

The Irwin family has maintained a low profile for the past several weeks, with attorneys saying they would not be speaking with the media for the time being.

But after several weeks of postponement, Bradley and Irwin finally allowed Lisa's two step-brothers to be interviewed by an FBI child specialist on Thursday. The 5 and 8-year-old boys were interviewed for about two hours and the conversations were videotaped.

"[The FBI agent present at the interview] said that it went fine, the boys did fine and there were no new developments," Picerno said.

Baby Lisa's Birthday Marked By Spat Between Police and Parents

More than five weeks have passed since Lisa disappeared, and though the case has taken a number of bizarre turns, no suspects have been identified and no major breaks have been made in the case.

Kansas City police and the FBI have conducted dozens of searches. Authorities searched wooded areas, lakes, abandoned houses and spent extensive time at the Irwin home, all to no avail.

Much of the case's drama has played out publicly. There have been numerous clashes between the family and authorities, mostly over issues of cooperation, a musical chair-like rotation of lawyers and spokespersons have occurred and a handful of potential witnesses have not led to any known progress in the search.

Lisa's parents have been at the center of public scrutiny, especially Bradley whose apparent inconsistencies about the time she last saw her daughter and admission that she was drunk the night Lisa disappeared have raised suspicions.

"This family has done nothing but cooperate," Tacopina said. "They didn't have any insight as to what happened to their daughter."

More than 1,000 tips have led to dead end and frustrations.

Bradley and Irwin have maintained from the beginning that their daughter was abducted from her crib in the middle of the night.

An anonymous benefactor is offering a $100,000 reward for baby Lisa's safe return or the conviction of whoever took the little girl.

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