KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Isabelle Zehnder reporting) – Missing Missouri baby Lisa Irwin’s two half-brothers, ages 5 and 8, were scheduled to meet with specialists Friday – their parents, at the urging of their attorney, canceled the meeting late Thursday.
The boys said they heard something the night their baby sister went missing. Police have asked to re-question them for weeks, their parents have repeatedly declined to make them available.
“This will be the first time we’ve had a chance to interview them since then [Oct. 4],” Kansas City Police Officer Darin Snapp told ABC News.com earlier this week. “We have not been allowed access to the children until [parents Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin] agreed to bring them in this Friday,” he said.
Snapp said they expected to collect DNA samples that are very “non-intrusive, pretty much a Q-tip swab.”
He said that DNA samples, previously collected from the home, remain labeled ‘unknown’ and police want to use the boys’ DNA to eliminate some of the unknown samples.
Snapp said no detectives would have been involved in Friday’s interviewes and that they would have been conducted by child specialists.
The couple’s 5 and 8-year-old sons were also scheduled to provide DNA samples using swabs, a very non-threatening method. Police want to compare their DNA to DNA found in the home, ABC’s Good Morning America reports.
While initially their father, Jeremy Irwin, said he didn’t think the boys heard anything the night the baby went missing, the baby’s mother, Deborah Bradley, publicly stated the boys did hear noises and that she’d not asked them about it because she didn’t want to put them through anything.
The public has strongly criticized her for not questioning the boys, and not allowing them to be re-questioned by professionals who work with young children in very non-threatening environments.
The parents finally agreed to have the children re-questioned Friday.
At about 10 p.m. Thursday, Kansas City Police announced that at the urging of their high-profile New York defense attorney, Joe Tacopina, Deborah and Jeremy canceled the boys’ interviews.
Darin Snapp, spokesman for the Kansas City Police, said that Tacopina did not give a reason for canceling the interviews and indicated the interviews would be rescheduled for next week, and said police hopes that occurs.
The boys were interviewed the day their sister was reported missing, one for about 30 minutes and the other for less than an hour. The reason the interviews were cut short was because the boys were tired after being up since very early that morning.
Police have repeatedly said they need the two boys to answer questions about what they saw and heard the night Baby Lisa vanished. Her parents say she was abducted from her crib sometime between 6:40 p.m. Oct. 3 and 4 a.m. Oct. 4.
Continuous news coverage in missing Baby Lisa case
Tacopina, who was in Rome earlier this week, could not be reached for comment Thursday night, KCTV5.com reports.
Strained police/parent relationship
The relationship between police and the baby’s parents remains tense.
Baby Lisa was reported missing Oct. 4.
On Oct. 5, police said the parents were cooperating. They went on national TV pleading for the safe return of their baby.
By Oct. 6, police said the parents were no longer cooperating. The family quickly disputed their claims and said the couple was exhausted from hours of police interrogation.
A number of parents whose children have gone missing say they, too, endured days of intensive interrogation and that it’s something parents must endure until they are cleared. Police cannot clear parents until they’ve answered questions and cleared up any inconsistencies.
In this case, police say the baby’s parents have refused to come back in for quesitoning and that the last time they sat down with Deborah and Jeremy was on Oct. 8. They now want to question them independently and say the parents continue to refuse.
Police say they have questions they need answered. Questions, they say, only the parents can answer. By refusing to come in for questioning, and by refusing to have the boys re-questioned, police say the parents are hindering their investigation into finding Baby Lisa.
By Oct. 7, the relationship had continued to deteriorate between police and the parents. Deborah said police were blaming her for Lisa’s disappearance and told her she’d failed a lie detector test she’d consented to taking. She said she didn’t like the way police were handling their questioning.
Police continued saying the parents were no longer cooperating with them, the family continued to fire back saying they’d never stopped cooperating.
On Oct. 17, Tacopina announced he was now representing Baby Lisa’s parents. On the same day, Deborah went on national TV saying she’d been drinking the night her baby vanished.
She said she was drunk, had taken anti-anxiety medication, and might even have blacked out that night. She changed her timeline saying the last time she saw Baby Lisa was 6:40 p.m. when she put her to bed, not 10:30 p.m. as she’d previously stated.
For weeks police have conducted searches of the couple’s home, areas around the home, a nearby landfill, they’ve drained bodies of water, gone door-to-door asking if anyone had any information about Baby Lisa. They’ve searched by air, on ATVs, horseback, and on foot. They’ve searched abandoned homes, scoured wooded areas and fields. Search dog teams have been brought in, the FBI and CSI have joined Kansas City Police in the search.
Still no sign of Baby Lisa.
Detailed timeline: Weeks 1-3
Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact the TIP Hotline at (816) 474-TIPS.
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