Missing Baby Lisa Parents Not Answering Vital Questions, Police Say

Police bristle at criticism of their investigation by parents' lawyer.

ByABC News
October 18, 2011, 10:01 AM

Oct. 18, 2011 — -- The parents of missing toddler Lisa Irwin haven't submitted to an interview with detectives for the last 10 days to answer questions about things "they might only know," police said today.

The 11-month-old girl vanished from her crib Oct. 3. Police have not named any suspects in the girl's disappearance, but the story of mother Deborah Bradley has altered somewhat and she has admitted to being drunk that night, possibly even blacking out.

Kansas City Police Capt. Steve Young expressed some frustration today with Bradley and the girl's father, Jeremy Irwin.

"There are things the detectives need to flesh out with the parents that only they would know and we no longer have that opportunity to sit down with them," Young told ABC News this afternoon. "We have not had an unrestricted conversation since Oct. 8th."

"And that time, and previous times, there came a point when Deborah became uncomfortable and stopped the questioning," Young said.

Young conceded that the parents have spoken with detectives since Oct. 8, but only to clarify information about tips that have come in.

He said the contact has been limited to conversations about details that need to be cleared up such as, "Do you know this person?"

"We strongly believe that that parent's cooperation and involvement is critical [in finding Lisa]," Young said.

Baby Lisa's Parents Not Answering Some Questions

Police have previously accused the parents of halting their cooperation, although the parents have insisted they continue to answer officers' questions. Today's comments by police were more specific.

Young also bristled today at criticism by Joe Tacopina, the high powered defense lawyer who is now representing Bradley and Irwin.

Tacopina told "Good Morning America" today that the way some of the local authorities conducted themselves in the hours following Lisa's disappearance was "baffling."

"I am aware that he offered some vague criticisms of the police department," Young said. "I think all reasonable people know that are doing things and we know things that are not a matter of public record."

"Should we develop something that we think will benefit the case by making public, by all means we'll be doing that," the captain said. "But to make the assumption that we're putting all our eggs in one basket would be wildly inaccurate."

Tacopina has also expressed his desire for more "boots on the ground" efforts to search for the girl, although police have been conducting searches every day since Lisa's disappearance in places including woods, fields, landfills, drainage areas, abandoned houses and a well.

Young said the police have so far cleared over 550 tips and leads.

The captain's comments about the parents and their lawyer came as questions grew over how much Bradley drank on the night Lisa disappeared. After store surveillance video showed her buying a box of wine that day, she initially admitted to drinking some wine. That has escalated to her concession she drank enough to be drunk and most recently to the possiblity that she blacked out from intoxication.

"Blacking out is a scientific term and I don't know if we can say that, but she had some wine that night," Tacopina told "Good Morning America" today. "And don't forget, it was Deborah who said that when she put Lisa to bed she had wine."

Tacopina said that there was no video or evidence of his client drinking, so there would have been no need for her to be so forthcoming if she had anything to hide.