National/World

KC crews searching well near missing baby's home

Wednesday, October 12, 2011
This photo provided Oct. 4, 2011, by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, shows Lisa Irwin. Kansas City police have issued an Amber Alert for the 10-month-old girl who apparently was abducted from her bedroom overnight. Lisa has blue eyes and blond hair. She is 30 inches tall and weighs between 26 and 30 pounds. (AP Photo, Kansas City Police Department)

Dozens of emergency workers began searching a well under the deck of a vacant home in Kansas City on Tuesday, just five blocks from the house where a 10-month-old baby vanished a week ago.

Crews were massed on and around the backyard deck late Tuesday morning, and members donned harnesses as they apparently readied to descend down the hole. The width and depth of the well were not immediately clear.

The well was discovered during a law enforcement canvass of the area, not a tip, said Capt. Steve Young, spokesman for the Kansas City Police Department. A neighbor said the single-story house had been abandoned for about four years.

Lisa Irwin's parents, Jeremy Irwin and Deborah Bradley, reported their daughter missing after Jeremy Irwin returned home from work a week ago Tuesday. Her parents said someone must have crept into their home while the child's mother and brothers slept and snatched the girl.

The search of the property came a day after a court ordered Kansas City television stations to submit all footage of interviews with friends and family of the girl. Investigators said Tuesday they have no suspects in the case.

Grand jury subpoenas from Clay County Circuit Court were sent late Monday to at least four network affiliates in Kansas City, according to their websites. The subpoenas said the television stations were being told to submit "all footage, including raw footage of any interviews or statements given by neighbors, family or friends of the family, regarding missing baby, Lisa Irwin."

The subpoenas, which were requested by the Clay County prosecutor's office, said at least two of the stations were told to appear with the footage in court on Oct. 18. It was not immediately clear whether the grand jury was called for the purpose of issuing the subpoenas or if it had already been seated to take up other matters.

Jim Roberts, a spokesman for the Clay County prosecutor's office, said the subpoenas were needed to prevent broadcasters from destroying video they might otherwise discard, in case there's a need for the material later.

Detectives and crime scene investigators were at the family's home Monday for more than two hours scouring areas of the backyard and poking through shrubbery and grass in the back of the house and in neighbors' yards. Police earlier in the investigation searched a landfill, nearby woods, an industrial park and sewers in their effort to follow up on more than 300 tips.

"Our detectives are doing everything possible you would expect them to do in this case," Young said Tuesday. He declined to comment on the subpoenas.

Bryan McGruder, vice president for news at WDAF, said the station would provide all footage it had aired about the case. But he said the station would not hand over any raw footage because workers "routinely recycle what we use."

R. Michael Cassidy, a professor at Boston College Law School, said there could be several reasons for seeking the footage. He said investigators may want the footage to find inconsistencies in parents' accounts of the events surrounding their daughter's disappearance.

"It could mean that they have one or both of the parents as suspects, and they are developing evidence of everything they said in the past and prior to the arrest," Cassidy said Tuesday. "To show that someone's story has shifted over time can also be very damning."

Neither parent has been named as a suspect, but Bradley has said police told her she failed a lie detector test.

Police may also want the footage in order to review "the landscape around the house," shortly after the disappearance was reported.

"It could be that these visuals of the immediate area are important," he said.

(Copyright ©2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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