The Associated Press Contributed to This Report
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A lawyer hired to represent the parents of a missing Kansas City infant says he believes they will not be arrested, and a private investigator working as a family consultant says he believes Lisa Irwin is still alive.
In an interview on NBC’s “Today” show Tuesday, high-profile defense attorney Joe Tacopina insisted Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin have been nothing but cooperative with the investigation into their daughter’s disappearance, despite a statement from Kansas City police spokesman Steve Young that their “level of cooperation hasn’t been what it needs to be to help find (Lisa).”
Tacopina said “it’s unbelievable to hear that,” pointing to Monday’s consent to a search of their vehicle, home and house where they have been staying with family members.
“They want to cooperate,” Tacopina told Ann Curry. “But they want to make sure the investigation is done in good faith.”
He said it “really doesn’t do much for the cooperative spirit” when investigators blame someone for their child’s disappearance.
“These people are victims,” Tacopina said. “They are grieving parents who are missing their 11-month-old baby.”
In an interview that aired on Monday’s “Today” show, Bradley told NBC she feared she would be arrested in the case, but Tacopina said he has no reason to believe that will happen.
Bill Stanton, a private investigator also from New York, who was brought in last week and has been working as a consultant to the family, says he has been analyzing data police have collected and attempting to gather information on his own.
“I do believe this baby is alive and in the hands of someone else,” Stanton said Tuesday in the “Today” show interview.
“Who steals a puppy to do away with a puppy,” Stanton said when asked why he feels that way. “You steal that puppy because you want it. I think it’s either trafficking or an emotionally disturbed person that took this child.”
Video of Tuesday's "Today" show interview can be seen in the media player below. (Story continues below video)
On Monday, Tacopina said Bradley may not be casting herself in the best light by telling national media that she drank heavily the night her daughter disappeared and other unflattering details, but her honesty shows that she and her family "have nothing to hide.”
Bradley told television audiences Monday that she may have blacked out in the hours before she and Jeremy Irwin reported that Lisa was missing early Oct. 4. Bradley also now says she last saw her daughter hours earlier than she originally told police.
Bradley had said in previous days that she checked on Lisa at 10:30 p.m. on Oct. 3, but on Monday told NBC's "Today" show that she actually last saw Lisa when she put her to bed at 6:40 p.m.
Tacopina said Tuesday her story hasn’t changed, but instead upon further questioning, her recollection of the night has.
"I don't recall in recent history anyone under this umbrella of suspicion be so open and forthright, warts and all, regarding the events. Because they have nothing to hide," Tacopina said during a news conference Monday to announce he had been hired to represent the couple.
The parents reported their daughter missing after Irwin returned home from working a night shift and found the front door unlocked, the house lights on, a window tampered with and the baby gone. Bradley and their two sons were asleep elsewhere in the house.
Bradley told Fox News that she got drunk after she put her daughter to bed that night and may have blacked out. She said she "probably" drank more than five glasses of wine, and said she frequently drank at home after her children were safely in bed. She also said she had taken a dose of anti-anxiety medication that day.
In Monday’s “Today” show interview, Bradley told NBC that police accused her of killing Lisa, but she insisted again that she had not harmed her daughter.
"No, no. ... I don't think alcohol changes a person enough to do something like that," she said.
On Monday, Tacopina, who also defended Joran Van der Sloot, the Dutch man suspected in the 2005 disappearance of Natalee Holloway in Aruba, said Bradley detailing her drinking the night Lisa went missing "goes to her credibility."
"That's something she was willing to tell the truth about even if it didn't make her look good because she's got nothing to hide," said Tacopina, who refused to say who was paying him and would only say that he had been hired to counsel the parents through the investigation.
Sean O'Brien, associate professor of law at University of Missouri-Kansas City, said it was difficult to read anything into Bradley's remarks about her drinking or about what police told her. But he said it was wise for the parents to hire a lawyer, and they likely should have done so earlier given what Bradley has said about police accusing her of being involved in the baby's disappearance.