At 0400 hours Tuesday morning or thereabouts, it will be exactly one week since 10 month old Lisa Irwin was found not to be in her crib or in her home. The case, which has had lots of drama but not much in the way of solid leads, has attracted national attention. Of course, it has also been on local media blast, and suddenly there are about 600,000 amateur detectives on the case. (Population of KC metro approximately 2 million. Figuring many are children, and others don't give a damn, I speculated that about a third of the metro is trying to figure out this situation.)
The book of police work says look first at the family, for most of the time, it is the family, or someone affiliated with the family, that has taken or harmed the child. Abduction by a complete stranger is very uncommon. So the family has been looked at quite thoroughly, including a gambit where the police used the media to put pressure on the family and the story they are telling. Every little thing of the Bradley-Irwin family's day is under scrutiny--why did the dad working a late shift, not have a cell phone with him, why didn't mom wake up sometime during the night sometime between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. to check on her daughter, how could someone come in and not wake mom or the two school aged children up while taking the baby--you get the idea. In addition, every little eye glance and facial expression of the parents in public appearances is studied. Some feel that the parents are being considered guilty of the crime of hurting their daughter in some way before all the facts are in. Others feel that in light of the unlikely event of a stranger abduction it is the right position to put a lot of attention on the parents and to be suspicious of them.
This is such a painful and inconceivable situation--I am not a parent and yet I find it painful to think about. If one or both of the parents know the real story and know where the child is, and whether or not she is safe, and is acting when in public, that is a scary person to think that they might know that Lisa is dead or in the hands of another. If the parents are not in on any plots surrounding the baby, imagine the grief of not knowing if she is dead or alive, and if alive, if she is in the hands of someone who will care for her, or someone who will hurt her for some sick reason. If abducted so that some other family can have a little girl to raise, to think she could be growing up somewhere, hitting all those milestones that kids hit in some household somewhere else in the world...that is almost as hard to stomach as having to know that she was killed. The only consolation for a loving parent is that if she is alive, she is hopefully enjoying some of the sweet things of life.
One week, just a short time, and yet, a long time. Is it possible that a 10 month old, still very dependent on caring adults for her needs, is still alive after almost 7 full days away from her family? And who knows something useful--will the case crack when someone who knows the family or the parents themselves spill the beans, or will it be a tip given to the PD or FBI that will provide the clue that solves the crime? Or will it come to a head when someone, somewhere, finds a little body...