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Video: Mom of missing baby Lisa admits drinking

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    ANN CURRY, co-host: We're going to make a turn now to Kansas City and new developments in the case of that missing baby, Lisa Irwin . Her mother is opening up in a new interview about what she was doing the night her daughter was last seen. NBC 's Peter Alexander is in Kansas City this morning with details. Hey, Peter , good morning.

    PETER ALEXANDER reporting: And good morning to you. Lisa Irwin 's parents have been silent for more than a week until now. They tell NBC News that this awful experience has brought them closer together than ever before. And they also say that they are hopeful that their baby daughter will be returned home safely. During our 45-minute interview, Deborah Bradley , Lisa 's mother, revealed that she was drinking that night, and she also says that she thinks she could be arrested because of her daughter 's disappearance. I began by asking her why.

    Ms. DEBORAH BRADLEY: Well, I was the last one with her. And from judging on how the questioning went, that's kind of a fear that I have. And the main fear with that is, if they arrest me, people are going to stop looking for her. And then I'll never see her again, and I'll never know what happened.

    ALEXANDER: Nearly two weeks have passed since baby Lisa 's parents, Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin , say their infant daughter , seen here in home video shot earlier this year, vanished from her crib. You told us that police even accused you of killing your daughter .

    Ms. BRADLEY: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

    ALEXANDER: How has that been for authorities to focus on you at times?

    Ms. BRADLEY: Terrible. Because my daughter 's missing. The last thing that I want to have to worry about is something like that. I shouldn't have to put any energy, any time or effort into anything but finding her.

    ALEXANDER: Just before 5:00 on the night Lisa disappeared, Deborah , who's 25, was spotted on surveillance tape with her brother at a grocery store buying baby supplies and boxed wine. Now, for the first time , Deborah admits she was drinking at home in the hours before she says Lisa vanished. Were you drinking that night?

    Ms. BRADLEY: Yes.

    ALEXANDER: How much?

    Ms. BRADLEY: Enough to be drunk .

    ALEXANDER: So you were drunk .

    Ms. BRADLEY: Mm-hmm.

    ALEXANDER: A lot of people are going to say, ' Deborah , you were drunk that night. Is there any chance you did anything that hurt your daughter that you're just not telling us?'

    Ms. BRADLEY: No, no, no. And if I thought there was a chance, I'd say it. No, no. I don't think that alcohol changes a person enough to do something like that.

    ALEXANDER: Deborah now says she last saw her daughter when she put her to bed at 6:40 PM , not 10:30 , as the family first reported. It was the first time Lisa 's father Jeremy , an electrician, had ever worked an overnight shift making repairs at this Kansas City Starbucks . Do you in any way question that she's not telling you or police everything she knows?

    Mr. JEREMY IRWIN: No. There's no question to be had there. I know who she is. I know what kind of mother she is.

    ALEXANDER: When Jeremy got home just before 4 in the morning , he says he found the front door unlocked, several lights on, and a window screen tampered with. Police have tried to recreate how an abductor might have broken into the home through that window. Does it seem feasible to you that someone could have gotten in while you and your two boys were sleeping and you wouldn't have heard a thing?

    Mr. IRWIN: Our bedroom is on the exact opposite corner of the house, and she sleeps with the fan on high.

    Ms. BRADLEY: Yeah, but they must have been doing it much quieter than the police were.

    Mr. IRWIN: Yeah, quieter.

    ALEXANDER: You told us that police said you failed a lie detector test. What question or questions did they say you failed?

    Ms. BRADLEY: They said that I failed when they asked me where she was.

    ALEXANDER: Deborah and Jeremy say they've refused to let detectives reinterview Lisa 's eight- and five-year-old half-brothers.

    Ms. BRADLEY: They said they heard noises, but I don't know if that was before we went to sleep or after. I have not sat down and talked to them about it specifically to not have to put them through anything else.

    ALEXANDER: On Sunday, the Missouri National Guard joined the exhaustive search for baby Lisa , combing open and wooded areas near the Irwin family home. Also this weekend, inside the basement of this abandoned house in the neighborhood, investigators discovered a child's backpack and used diapers, but police discounted that finding. Meanwhile, detectives have now questioned a local handyman with a criminal history who'd been unaccounted for since before Lisa 's disappearance. Still, police say they have no suspects, including Lisa 's parents. If the person who took your baby daughter is out there watching this right now, what do you say to them?

    Ms. BRADLEY: She needs her family . We need her. We're losing more sanity as each day progresses.

    ALEXANDER: Also this morning, NBC News has learned that the Irwin family is expected to announce later this afternoon, Ann , that they are bringing in an

    attorney. Ann: All right, Peter Alexander , thank you so much . Judge Jeanine Pirro is a former prosecutor and spent the last two weeks in Kansas City following this story. Jeanine , good morning.

    CURRY: Good morning.

    Judge JEANINE PIRRO (Former District Attorney/Westchester County, New York): So this news that Deborah was -- is now admitting that she was drunk the night that Lisa disappeared and actually the last time she saw the baby was at 6:40 and not at 10:30 . Now, why would a family essentially change its story?

    CURRY: Well, you know, when you have a missing 10-month-old baby, I mean, the truth is absolutely essential. Minutes count. Now, I spoke with the mother, Deborah , and the father at length eye-to-eye. I said to her, 'What time did you put baby Lisa to bed?' She said, I put her to bed several hours earlier than the last time I checked on her, which was at 10:30 . Now, two weeks later we come out with a new time. Why is that? Time is essential. It creates new windows and new areas of investigation. That is very, very concerning.

    Ms. PIRRO: Maybe concealing the fact that she was drunk , maybe being concerned about the repercussions from that?

    CURRY: Well, we know that she was buying alcohol and that box of wine just before 5:00. I spoke to the store clerk about that purchase. She seemed fine. She bought baby wipes, she bought baby food . But it would explain why she didn't hear the baby monitor , why the dog -- she didn't hear the dog barking. But, you know, now we -- she comes out and she says, 'I was drunk .' You know, people were believing her because her story was consistent. I spoke with her, she was very consistent. The neighbors said she loved that baby. The store clerk said she was a wonderful mother. The baby was always appropriately dressed and in good health. Now she comes out with, 'The last time I saw my baby was at 6:40; and, by the way, I was drunk .' You know, this isn't the kind of thing that you want to bring out after the fact when time is essential here. A 10 -month-old is missing.

    Ms. PIRRO: Meantime, Deborah is saying they're not allowing -- the family 's not allowing the boys, the stepbrothers of Lisa , to be reinterviewed. They're just ages eight and five. But What would explain why the police wants to reinterview them and why the family would refuse?

    CURRY: Well, first of all, I think they're eight and six. And here's the problem. If those boys have any information -- we know the mother was drinking with the next-door neighbor and her four-year-old daughter who was watching videos with her sons. I think that the opportunity to speak to the sons about someone they may have seen at or around the house and the Kansas City police -- and they're doing a fantastic job; they picked up this homeless guy, Jersey , who was not seen since the baby's been missing. But every piece to the puzzle becomes extremely important. Time is essential. Now you come out and say it was at 6:40, four hours before I told you last week? Not good.

    Ms. PIRRO: Hm. It's clear the Kansas City Police Department -- you just said they're doing a great job -- are keeping their sights on the family . But are they at the same time also conducting a parallel investigation, looking at the possibility this could be a stranger abduction case?

    CURRY: Oh, there's no question. They're looking at all avenues. They have left no stone unturned. They have gone and spoke to sexual predators who are like saying, 'You know, hey, we're waiting for you to come and talk to us.' I mean, this is a very competent department. They keep it close to the vest, and this whole idea about her saying she's being arrested, I don't believe that that's the case. Nothing that I've heard on the ground indicates that that is imminent.

    Ms. PIRRO: All right, Judge Jeanine Pirro . Thank you so much for your perspective this morning.

    CURRY:

By
TODAY contributor
updated 10/17/2011 8:20:39 AM ET 2011-10-17T12:20:39

In the latest twist in the case of a missing Kansas City infant, the child’s mother admitted that she was drunk on the night of her baby’s disappearance and expects to be arrested.

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Breaking a nine-day silence, Deborah Bradley, the mother of missing 10-month-old Lisa Irwin, told NBC News about her behavior on the night of Baby Lisa’s disappearance and her fear of possibly being arrested given the nature of the latest questioning by investigators.

“Judging on how the questioning went, that’s kind of the fear that I have,’’ Bradley told NBC’s Peter Alexander in an exclusive interview alongside the baby’s father, Jeremy Irwin, that aired on TODAY Monday. “The main fear is that if they arrest me, people are going to stop looking, and I’ll never see her again, and I’ll never know what happened.’’

Video: Missing baby’s parents: ‘We just need her back‘ (on this page)

A surveillance video from a local market on the day of the baby’s disappearance showed Bradley purchasing boxed wine as well as baby supplies shortly before 5 p.m. Bradley admitted to drinking “enough to be drunk’’ that night, which led to the question of whether she could have harmed her own child under the influence of alcohol.

“No, no, no,’’ she said. “If I thought there was a chance, I’d say it. I don’t think that alcohol changes a person enough to do something like that.’’

Changed timeline
Nearly two weeks after her child was reported missing on Oct. 4, Bradley also has changed her story about when she last saw baby Lisa. She now says the last time she saw her daughter was at 6:40 p.m. on the night of her disappearance, nearly four hours earlier than the time of 10:30 p.m. that she originally told police. Irwin, the child’s father, was asked if he believed there was anything that Bradley was withholding from the police in light of this change in her story.

Image: Baby Lisa Irwin
Kansas City Police
Baby Lisa Irwin has been missing since Oct. 4.

“No, there’s no question to be had there,’’ Irwin replied. “I know the kind of mother she is, and I know what kind of person she is in general.’’

Former district attorney Jeanine Pirro weighed in on Bradley’s inconsistencies on TODAY Monday. Pirro spent the last two weeks in Kansas City and has interviewed the parents at length.

“(Being drunk) would explain why she didn’t hear the baby monitor, she didn’t hear the dog barking,’’ Pirro told TODAY’s Ann Curry. “People were believing her because her story was consistent. Now she comes out with, ‘The last time I saw my baby was at 6:40 and by the way, I was drunk.’ This isn’t the kind of thing that you want to bring out after the fact when time is essential here.’’

Police have accused Bradley of killing her daughter, she said. The family is expected to announce later on Monday that it has retained an attorney.

“The last thing I want to have to worry about is something like that,’’ Bradley said. “I shouldn’t have to put any energy, any time or effort into anything but finding her.’’

Story: Cistern search yields no sign of missing Mo. baby

Bradley has also admitted to failing a police-administered lie detector test.

“They said that I failed when they asked me where she was (and) if I knew where she was,’’ Bradley said.

The night of the child’s disappearance also marked the first time that Irwin worked a night shift as an electrician. He said that when he returned home at 4 a.m., he found the front door unlocked with several lights on and a window screen tampered with. Police have tried to recreate how the baby might have been abducted by an intruder entering through that window.

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“Our bedroom is on the exact opposite corner of the house, and (Bradley) sleeps with the fan on high,’’ Irwin said.

“Yeah, they (the intruders) must have been doing it much quieter than police,’’ Bradley added.

The couple has refused to let investigators re-interview Baby Lisa’s 8- and 5-year-old half-brothers, who were in the house at the time of the child’s disappearance.

Video: Missing baby Lisa: What are police doing? (on this page)

“They said they heard noises, but I don’t know if that was before they went to sleep or after,’’ Bradley said about her two sons. “I have not sat down and talked to them about it, specifically to not have to put them through anything else.’’

Story: Mo. National Guard to help search for missing baby

With police still producing no suspects in the case, 25 members of the Missouri National Guard joined the search on Saturday. Police also searched a nearby abandoned house after receiving a tip about a backpack and diapers inside, but investigators said the items were in the house longer than two weeks.

Video: Mom of missing baby Lisa admits drinking (on this page)

Police have also questioned a local handyman with a criminal past but have not made him a suspect in the case. A wealthy benefactor has put up a $100,000 reward for any information that leads to Baby Lisa’s safe return. Hundreds of tips have poured in from as far away as England and Barbados, but still no concrete leads.

“Please think of Lisa,’’ Bradley said. “She needs her family, and they need her.’’

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