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Video: Stolen debit card charge a clue in baby Lisa case?

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    >> let's begin this half hour with some new information that's tied to the mysterious disappearance of a baby girl in missouri. her parents are hoping it will lead to a break in the case. we're going to talk to them exclusively in just a moment. first we want to hear from nbc's krig melvin with the latest. craig , good morning.

    >> ann, good morning to you. this is the house behind me where baby lisa actually lived and perhaps you can still see the missing girl posters plastered on the front door. they're still all over this neighborhood. new this morning, baby lisa 's father jeremy says that his deb it card number was stolen about a month after his little girl disappeared, and also says that the charges are suspicious. all of this as kansas city police tell me while the case is still open, there have been very few leads.

    >> drink your baba.

    >> reporter: it's been seven months since 10-month-old baby lisa vanished from her crib in the middle of the night . and kansas city police say they don't have much to work with. but lisa 's parents, deborah bradley and jeremy irwin , hope exclusive information provided to nbc news leads to a break in the case. according to jeremy , one month after lisa disappeared, his debit card was suspended because of fraudulent charges. documents provided by irwin show one transaction for $69.04, which he claims leads to a website specializing in changing your or your child's names. kansas city police say they are investigating the debit card issue, but that it does not look promising, or appear to be anything more than stolen card numbers.

    >> if a credit card was used fraudulently over a month after the disappearance of baby lisa , that's a long time for somebody to steal a credit card and wait to try to use it. and that's one of the reasons why law enforcement will probably cast some doubts on the relationship between the two.

    >> not a joke. it is not a circus. it is not a game. this is my baby.

    >> reporter: lisa 's parents last spoke out to dr. phil about their daughter's disappearance in february. jeremy says he got home at 3:45 the morning of october 4th . the door was unlocked, lights were on, and lisa 's crib was empty.

    >> it's really, really hard, because every day i wake up, and i think about her, and when i go to sleep i think about her. and it's almost everything i can do to stay sane.

    >> reporter: deborah has admitted to having several drinks the night lisa was reported missing, and does not remember when she last checked on her. police searched the home and scoured woods just three miles away , close to where a witness says he saw a man carrying a baby around the time lisa went missing. according to authorities no information has surfaced about the man, and the search has so far come up empty. now, her parents hope this latest development brings their daughter home.

    >> that emotional porch light will always be turned on that house and be turned on the investigation until we find out what happened to baby lisa .

    >> reporter: now, over the weekend i asked kansas city police whether the parents had continued to be cooperative with police . and police told me that while they have provided some information, none of it has been useful to the case. but they hope to continue to talk to baby lisa 's parents. ann?

    >> all right, craig melvin this morning. craig , thank you. lisa 's parents, deborah bradley and jeremy irwin are now joining us exclusively along with their attorney. good morning to all of you.

    >> good morning.

    >> we can see you have a photograph, a button of lisa on you that -- that you're wearing. during that tape that we were just watching, you couldn't stop crying.

    >> no.

    >> what do you want to say about where you are now, seven months after she's disappeared.

    >> i am a mess. i am frustrated. it has been almost eight months, and we're not getting any answers. we understand that the fbi and the kcpd have a job to do, but we need answers. we need lisa . and it's unacceptable the answer to us, we are looking at it, it's unacceptable.

    >> when you say that you're frustrated, are you saying that you see that they're not doing enough? or that you're just unhappy with what they're telling you? do you think --

    >> i'm unhappy with what they're telling me. and it's been too long. and with this -- this development they've had for a long time and we still haven't heard anything.

    >> jeremy , you -- you -- we just heard in this last report, you're talking about your debit card being used about a month, right, after lisa disappeared.

    >> right.

    >> and our producers, one of our producers took a look at this and they looked at the company that was charged through your debit card for $69.04, and it leads to a stationery website. now why do you make a link between that and this idea that the site where you can change your name or your child's name?

    >> i don't know why it takes you there now. but when we first found out about this in december, it -- that's where it used to go, was the website that -- where you can change somebody's name online.

    >> you saw this yourself?

    >> yeah. we went through this back in the middle of december, when -- whenever it was first found out about it. and we called them, and we ended up talking to the office supply store and they had obviously had no idea what we were talking about. but it all -- it used to go to the name changing website. and now there's something weird going on there where it doesn't go directly there anymore. so there's some kind of weird internet thing going on.

    >> and why do you believe this could be a link, could be a break in the case of your missing girl?

    >> well, somebody has my information and tried to use it on november 6th . and whoever had it and used it used it for $69, and it went through and got paid, so they received some kind of -- some kind of service for the money that was charged on my card. and there were also two other charges attempted that day that were not paid.

    >> if i could just say, we provided this to the fbi . i mean the cache, the page that we caught in november, you know, when looking at this, when we found the credit card company called us was a website that actually advertised change your child's name.

    >> you saw this yourself?

    >> i saw that myself. our investigators have seen it. we've turned it over to the fbi . if it's just another coincidence when you pile it up in this case they're overwhelming. you have that coincidence and maybe it's nothing. but of all sings a website from the uk that provides a service to change your child's name over the internet for $69, and there's a fraudulent charge on his card. we also have a phone call 11:57 the night baby lisa disappeared to a woman from -- from deb's phone that had never been called before this megan wright. she was the on-again/off-again of this jersey joe , the person we think should be looked at very carefully here, yet no one, because the phones went missing with the baby, remember. and that phone had never been dialed from deb's phone ever before.

    >> you stop short of saying that investigators aren't doing enough. are you saying investigators are not doing enough? are you saying it should be looked at here?

    >> here's what i'll say now. i know the fbi is in constant contact with deb and jeremy and without intervening. this is not about defense of them, this is about them finding answers and finding their baby. they speak with the fbi frequently and routinely. from the get-go the kcpd add pigeonholed them your honor fortunately. it's right to start with them as suspected but they alleviated other potential avenues of and missed other opportunities. including three witnesses identifying a man holding a baby that matched joe 's description after midnight. it's inconceivable that that wasn't followed up immediately.

    >> we want you to have the right answer we want you to be able to find your girl. we want to tell anyone who's got any information about baby lisa irwin to call 816-474-tips. deborah , jeremy , joe , thank you so much all three of you this morning.

    >> thank you for having us.

TODAY contributor
updated 5/21/2012 9:23:17 AM ET 2012-05-21T13:23:17

Their frustration with police mounting nearly eight months after their daughter vanished, the parents of a missing Missouri baby are hoping that a fraudulent debit card charge could be the breakthrough that helps authorities find their child.

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Jeremy Irwin and Deborah Bradley, whose 10-month-old daughter Lisa disappeared on the night of Oct. 4, appeared on TODAY Monday along with their attorney to discuss the latest wrinkles in the case. In early November, just over a month after Lisa vanished, Irwin said his debit card was stolen. The card was suspended for a fraudulent charge for $69.04 while two other charges were attempted. He said the charge was made to a British website that advertises a service to legally change your name or your child’s name online.

Story: Baby Lisa's parents maintain innocence, believe she's alive

The Kansas City police said they are investigating the claim, but that it does not appear to be a promising lead or anything more than a routine case of a stolen card. While the case of Lisa Irwin remains open, authorities have found very few leads.

‘We need answers’
“I am a mess,’’ Bradley told Ann Curry. “I am frustrated. It has been almost eight months, and we’re not getting any answers. We understand that the FBI and the KCPD have a job to do, but we need answers. We need Lisa. The answer to us that we are looking at is unacceptable.

Getty Images
On TODAY, Jeremy Irwin and Deborah Bradley expressed frustration with the pace of the investigation of their infant daughter Lisa’s disappearance.

“I’m unhappy with what they’re telling me. It’s been too long. With this (stolen card) development, they’ve had it for a long time, and we still haven’t heard anything.’’

Story: Probe of missing Missouri baby Lisa Irwin scaled back

“That’s a long time for somebody to steal a credit card and wait to try to use it, and that’s one of the reasons why law enforcement will probably cast some doubts on the relationship between the two,’’ former FBI criminal profiler Clint Van Zandt told NBC News.

Irwin came home from work at 3:45 a.m. on Oct. 4 to find the door unlocked, the lights on and Lisa’s crib empty. Bradley admits to having had several drinks that night and does not remember the last time she checked on her baby.

Story: Baby Lisa’s mom: I was drunk when she vanished

A witness said that he saw a man carrying around a baby in a diaper around the time Lisa went missing, which is a lead the parents’ attorney, Joe Tacopina, believes should have been urgently pursued. Neighborhood handyman John “Jersey” Tanko, who has a history of break-ins, was questioned by police about his whereabouts that night, but was not declared a suspect.

Video: Baby Lisa’s parents speak out to Dr. Phil (on this page)

“(The police) missed massive opportunities, including three witnesses that identified a man holding a baby that matched Jersey John’s description after midnight with just a diaper on,’’ Tacopina said. “It’s inconceivable that that wasn’t followed up on immediately.’’

Tacopina also said that a phone call was made at 11:57 p.m. on the night of Lisa’s disappearance on Bradley’s phone to a woman who is Tanko’s on-again, off-again girlfriend. Bradley had never dialed that number before, and her phone was stolen from the home on the night Lisa vanished.

Video: Stolen debit card charge a clue in baby Lisa case? (on this page)

“This is not a defense of (the parents),’’ Tacopina said. “This is about finding answers and finding their baby.’’

Anyone with information related to Lisa Irwin’s whereabouts is urged to call 816-474-TIPS.

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints


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