Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dr. Phil Joins the Conversation About Lisa

On February 3, 2012, Lisa Irwin's parents (Jeremy Irwin and Deborah Bradley) will break their public silence with an appearance on television's syndicated Dr. Phil Show.  When I got word of it this afternoon and posted it on my Facebook page (http://www.Facebook.com/kansascitypi) and subsequently my Twitter account, speculation and debate erupted.

Apparently, the parents flew out over the weekend for a sanitized taping of the program with attorney Joe Tacopina at their side during the "interview".  In other words, there was no studio audience.

How valuable will the interview be? Will the only winner be The Dr. Phil Show who has been courting this interview for months?  One thing is for certain, this will be a huge ratings grabber for the show.

It is not confirmed, but in order to allow his clients to do the program, Tacopina surely has final edit authority or similar assurance lying on the "cutting room floor".

What can be gained by such an interview?  Perhaps, renewed interest in what happened to Irwin's and Bradley's infant daughter, reportedly last seen October 3, 2011.  It may also give the appearance of openness, in spite of the sanitized environment which "Lisa-ophiles" have been craving.

What could be lost?  For those who are convinced already of one or both of the parents' culpability, they are sure to find renewed affirmation in what they already believe.  No matter what, their opinion will not be changed.  The body language and statement analysis experts will have a field day assessing eye contact, body movements, and unscripted replies to the questions posed by the ten year talk veteran, himself a native of the Kansas City metro area.

Both the hopers and the haters will find something to satisfy their palates in this TV adventure.  The obsession this case has had online has taken a perverse trip.  Admittedly, it is a real life mystery as to what happened to this innocent baby.  However, the compulsive voyeurism has led to supporters of varying theories attacking the other 24/7 by taking on multiple Facebook screen personalities in a cowardly way, hiding behind their computer to unleash attacks for any opposition to their own opinion.  It makes one wonder while those who have such aggressive hatred for those who oppose their point of view on these forums are spending hours espousing their myopic views and unleashing personal attacks, what is their in-person social interaction like.  Are they ignoring their own family members and/or friends while they criticize either Lisa's family or their online foes?

One thing is for certain.  We are at least talking about Lisa again.  But, remember, she did not ask for any of this.  She would have been happy at home, laughing and playing with her big brothers.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Confident He Saw a Live Baby. Was it Lisa Irwin?

Sometimes in the confusion and rush for information in the early part of a case, things get overlooked.  Interviews conducted by reporters are often edited for time or the euphoria of the scoop overshadows the detailed questions that need to be asked.  With those things considered, I thought several things that came out early in the disappearance of Lisa Irwin merit reexamination.

I reached out to Mike Thompson for just that reason.  If you remember, Mike is one of what I think may be two credible sightings in the overnight hours that Lisa went missing.  The first interesting sighting, for me, is the 12:15 report by neighbors on Chelsea Street.  The surveillance video at the BP gas station has become what many of us feel as nothing.

When I called Thompson, he was most cooperative.  I wanted to meet him at the intersection of NE 48th St. and N Randolph so he could show me the exact locations of what he saw just after 4 a.m. on the morning of October 4, 2011.

We met today. A much colder day than the lower 50's the night Lisa went missing.  But that night was cool enough a baby should have had more than just a diaper on.

Mike was getting off of work driving due south on his motorcycle on Hwy 435 taking the off ramp at NE 48th St. in Kansas City, Missouri.  As he slowed down to turn west on NE 48th St., he saw a man walking from the south side of 48th, crossing the road, and heading north on N. Randolph.  Mike stopped his motorcycle at the intersection.  It was very well lit with street lights.  By this time a man, carrying a baby was probably around 20 to 30 yards north of the intersection walking on N. Randolph.  Mike says he hollered, "Are you okay?"  The man turned toward Thompson, a baby clearly visible in his arms, only in a diaper, sitting straight up in his arms and alert.  The man responded only with a nod.

Mike says the man had salt and pepper hair; short hair, but long enough for a comb.  It was not a buzz cut.  He is confident the man not only had a baby in his arms, but a live baby.  The baby's body was clearly visible, not mistaken for a bag.

After he got the nonverbal response, Thompson recalls telling the man that he better get a coat or a blanket or something to that effect on the baby.  He found it odd.  Mike then drove off, westward down NE 48th Street to visit a cousin.  The man continued to carry the baby north on N. Randolph.

Mike told his cousin what he saw but never thought much more about it for another week.  As awareness of Lisa Irwin's disappearance increased over the week, Mike's cousin, told him he thought he should call the Kansas City police department (KCPD).  He did.

Thompson says two KCPD detectives then visited his home some 90 miles from the sighting.  Mike describes their reaction to his sighting as interested but not excited.  As his observations were made public, the media onslaught began.  Good Morning America took him out to dinner to woo him.  He laughs and said I would have talked to them anyway.

Mike was shown photos by child advocate Gil Abeyta.  In both Abeyta's presentation and the subsequent one by the KCPD when family former attorney Cyndy Short took him back to the KCPD, Thompson pointed to photos of James Brando, the estranged husband of then-next door neighbor Samantha Brando.  Samantha has since filed for divorce and James is back living next door.

I met James Brando in early December 2011. At that time, some two months after Lisa's departure, his hair was short, close cropped.  It is entirely possible that Thompson was not shown a photo of the man he saw that night and picked out someone who looked the closest.

Thompson says the man was wearing a white shirt and light colored pants.  He guessed his height at around 5'7".

The direction that the man was heading, north on N. Randolph, was away from World's of Fun amusement park and certainly not in the direction of two abandoned cemetaries and adjacent areas that have been futilely searched.  The direction the man was heading was to a residential area.

Thompson says he has seen photos of Jersey and the man he saw was not him.  However, why would the person Thompson saw that night be on foot?  It seems like it would have been someone that did not have transportation.  By the streets, this location is three miles from the home of Jeremy Irwin and Deborah Bradley, Lisa's parents.  If they walked the entire distance, it seems like a long way as well as dangerous to be spotted, if they did not have access to a vehicle.

Mike told me his heart really goes out to the family. He says he knows what he saw that night and wants to help in any way he can.  Maybe by sharing this additional information publicly someone else who saw something that night will speak up, or if there is another explanation for a man walking with a baby, that man will step forward.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Missing Lisa Irwin: 100 Days

It has now been 100 days since Lisa Irwin went missing from her home in Kansas City, Missouri's northland.  If she is safe, she is 14 months old as of today.  As time has passed, while it may feel we are no closer to answers, we have at least eliminated some questions.

In the last few months, I have received several emails and phone calls about Lisa's disappearance.  Some of the correspondence has been theories or "gut feelings" from those who wanted to get my input or have me check information.  While still other reactions have been things I have been asked to check into.  Anything relevant I have come across, I have called Kansas City police with the information.  However, there have been some tidbits come my way that I have checked out and come to dead ends.

I still get those potential leads even as late as the last few days.  We will continue to check them out.

In reflecting of the last 100 days, there seems to have developed a lot of assumptions by many us.  Did Deborah Bradley actually fail a lie detector given to her by KCPD?  If you go back and review the TV interviews, it appears that Deborah Bradley offered up that information.  She indicates that the KCPD told her she failed a question on the polygraph.  However, she was given no proof of that nor has KCPD put out a public statement in that regard.  Megyn Kelly of Fox News did say to the parents in an interview that authorities had told her Bradley had failed.   However, as much misinformation that has been put out there, we do not know this to be fact.

When I say the Kansas City police department has not always been forthright, that is not at all a criticism.  It is an observation.  It has become a commonly held belief and accepted that police do this to get people to confess or otherwise provide information.  Another example of inaccuracies was when authorities told Megan Wright (the woman whose phone was attempted to be dialed by someone on Bradley's phone that night) that her phone number was written on Deborah Bradley's hand.  Both women deny knowing each other and the lack of evidence in phone records back that up.

Speaking of phone records, we have been granted legal access to Megan Wright's phone records from that night.  Interestingly, that attempted call from Deborah Bradley's phone at 11:57 p.m. never reached Wright's phone.  Many of us believe that phone call is key to this case.  Whomever made that phone call was likely trying to reach either Megan or John "Jersey" Tanko.  If you remember, Megan and Jersey had dated for five months but then had broke up under two weeks before Lisa's disappearance.  Did whoever make that call know Jersey was no longer reachable at that number?  Did they have the phone number memorized or was it written down?

Further, was there really an attempt to access the internet or voice mail from Bradley's phone at 3:17 a.m. and 3:22 a.m.?  Or, is this another phone number written on the hand gimmick?

I do not believe Dane has anything to do with this. I could be wrong, but since the phone call did not go through that night, even though Dane was using Megan's phone all night, I believe he's an unlucky kid who was using a free phone.  It is obvious now he did not lie about having received a call.

Dane, however, does not appear to be the Boy Scout or altar boy I would want my daughter to marry.  We received a tip of a conversation Dane had recently outlining things that he claims happened that night. Having checked into that, it appears to be nothing more than a fabrication.  I am guessing he derives pleasure in just trying to stir the pot.

What happened? I do not know. I suspect, only a gut instinct, that whatever happened only one to three people know, minimizing someone blabbing.  Unless Lisa is found or someone talks recklessly, this case may never be solved.