The Bizarre Disappearance Of Baby Lisa Irwin

According to All That's interesting, Lisa Irwin was born on November 11, 2010, in Kansas City, Missouri to parents Jeremy Irwin and Deborah Bradley. Less than a year later, the cheerful and wide-eyed baby would seemingly disappear without a trace. Distractify writes that on October 4, 2011, her father realized that she was missing when he came back from work at 4 a.m. Things were clearly amiss; Irwin stated that the door was open and the lights inside the home were on. When he went to check on his infant daughter, she was gone. He subsequently woke up Bradley and in a panic, they called the police.

Bradley told authorities that she had last seen Lisa in her crib at 6:40 p.m. and then again at 10:40 p.m. (per The Cinemaholic). Irwin and Bradley also noted that three cell phones from their home were missing. SoapBoxie reports that two witnesses later came forward and said that they had seen a man on the streets with a baby. However, this lead did not pan out. Ultimately, investigators began to focus on Irwin and Bradley. Although they vehemently denied having to do anything with their daughter's disappearance, others were not too sure.

Authorities zeroed in on Lisa Irwin's mother

The Cinemaholic writes that Bradley's recollection of the night changed a few times. This led police to say she was hindering the investigation (via HuffPost). Later, Bradley admitted to being drunk on the night of Lisa's disappearance and to failing a lie detector test. In addition, she said she had actually last seen her daughter at 6:40 p.m., not 10:40 p.m. as she had initially told investigators (per SoapBoxie). Bradley stated that she expected that she would be arrested, as authorities clearly believed she was guilty of Lisa's disappearance.

As for Irwin, he noted that police were not interested in giving him a lie detector test. A former friend of Bradley's later said that they were not surprised by the news that Lisa had disappeared. She stated that "It just made me sick because I just wouldn't put this girl Debbie past anything crazy." In the end, All That's interesting reports that Bradley was not arrested; police simply had no evidence to back up that she had done anything to her daughter.

Theories regarding Lisa Irwin's disappearance

Distractify reports that at one point, cadaver dogs were used inside the Irwin home. Although they detected human remains near Bradley's bed that were thought to be Lisa. The Cinemaholic writes that for one reason or another, this was later deemed as a mistake. Irwin and Bradley insisted that their daughter had been kidnapped from her home (via ABC News). They brought up the two witnesses that had seen a man carrying a baby with only a diaper on in the middle of the night.

Irwin and Bradley pointed out that this could not be a coincidence–especially considering it occurred around their neighborhood. Per SoapBoxie, police were able to find this mystery man, John "Jersey" Tanko, and questioned him. Tanko had a history of break-ins but a few problems arose. Only one witness was able to positively identify him (per All That's interesting). Tanko also had a solid alibi and thus, was not determined to be a suspect in the case.

The cell phone saga

Months after Lisa's disappearance, Irwin and Bradley noted that they were unhappy with how the investigation was being handled (via Today). In addition, they believed they had two leads that could aid in helping their daughter. The first was a bizarre debit card charge. Irwin's card was stolen shortly after Lisa's disappearance. Later, the card was fraudulently used for $69.09 on a British site that allowed legal name changes for children. SoapBoxie writes that nothing ever came from this lead. The second had to do with a phone call from one of three cell phones that were believed to be stolen the same night as Lisa's disappearance.

According to All That's interesting, records indicated that someone had made a 50-second call using the cell phone that night. Both Irwin and Bradley denied it was them. NBC News reports that the call was made to Megan Wright. She refuted that she had answered the phone and said she had nothing to do with the case. Strangely, Wright was known to be previously romantically involved with John Tanko — the man who had been questioned by police. But like the debit card incident, this short phone call was also a dead end.

A mystery girl in Greece was believed to be Lisa Irwin

Despite the numerous tips that were eventually called in, authorities could not locate baby Lisa, per The Cinemaholic. In 2013, her case made news again when a young girl that strongly resembled her was found in Greece. NBC News writes that the girl, known as Maria, was discovered with a couple at a Roma camp. Despite looking nothing like the girl, they claimed to be her parents. DNA proved that she was not their daughter and they were subsequently charged with her abduction. According to USA Today, several parents, including Irwin and Bradley, were hopeful that the unidentified girl was their missing daughter.

However, that desire was quickly shattered. For one, Maria was around 6 years old and Lisa would have been 3 in 2013. KMBC explains that DNA testing later confirmed that Maria was not Lisa; she was the daughter of a Roma woman from Bulgaria. The woman stated she had given up her daughter because she did not have the financial means to take care of her. This partly corroborated with what the girl's "parents" had said as they asserted that Maria had been legally adopted.

Lisa Irwin's parents remain hopeful

As of 2022, baby Lisa Irwin has not been found. The FBI still considers her a missing person and is continuing to ask for tips regarding her disappearance. The Cinemaholic writes that an Amber alert was issued on the night she went missing and remains active. In 2016, Bradley said that she felt like her daughter was alive (via Distractify). This is a sentiment the family reiterated in 2021, 10 years after Lisa's disappearance. They revealed that they believe she was a victim of human trafficking and that the family was targeted as Irwin rarely worked nights but happened to do so when Lisa disappeared.

Furthermore, they hope that social media and possibly DNA could eventually lead their daughter back to them. Both Irwin and Bradley have submitted their DNA into a database with the belief it will someday match them with Lisa. Bradley said, "she's out there and eventually she's gonna come home." Per the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Lisa would now be 11 years old. There is currently a $100,000 reward for information that could lead authorities to her whereabouts.