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5 Years After Baby Lisa’s Disappearance, A Mother’s Plea: ‘I Just Want Her Back’

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On Monday night PEOPLE took a closer look at this case on People Magazine Investigates, which airs weekly on Investigation Discovery. Now learn more about the latest details with PEOPLE’s digital coverage

It’s an anniversary that no one — certainly no parent — would ever wish to see.

Five years after reporting their 10-month-old daughter, Lisa Irwin, missing from her crib in their home in Kansas City, Missouri, Jeremy Irwin and Deborah Bradley say they are no closer to knowing what happened or reuniting their family.

“I don’t want to look at her through pictures anymore,” Deborah tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, on newsstands now. “I just want her back.”

Lisa’s disappearance made headlines after it was discovered early on Oct. 4, 2011. Jeremy, 34, had returned home after 3 a.m. from a rare late job as an electrical contractor to find the front door unlocked and house lights on. With Deborah and sons Blake and Michael asleep, Jeremy went to check on Lisa.

Kansas City/Missouri Police Department
Kansas City/Missouri Police Department
Missouri Police Department/AP
Missouri Police Department/AP

But his daughter, just five weeks shy of her first birthday, was nowhere to be found.

Subscribe now to PEOPLE or pick up the latest issue, on newsstands now, for updates on the Lisa Irwin investigation.

Lisa’s parents quickly made themselves, their home and their kids available to investigators searching for clues. A pushed-in front window screen that was discovered by Jeremy seemed like a lead, until authorities who later attempted a re-enactment concluded that it was an unlikely point of entry.

More tantalizing was the apparent theft of cell phones from a kitchen counter — and the discovery that one of those phones was used to call the ex-girlfriend of a man who became an early person of interest.

Police also pursued reports of a man seen carrying an infant through the neighborhood.

Eyewitnesses, however, failed to agree on the identification of a suspect.

• For more on this case, watch “What Happened to Baby Lisa?” on our new true crime show, People Magazine Investigates, Nov. 14 (10 p.m. ET) on Investigation Discovery.

That left those closest to Lisa — her parents — under scrutiny, even more so after Deborah, 30, blamed her drinking that night for her inability to recall exactly when she last saw her daughter. For a short time, authorities said the parents quit co-operating. Both Deborah and Jeremy have denied any role in Lisa’s disappearance, and authorities have never named them as suspects.

WATCH: What Happened To Baby Lisa? Here Are 3 Things You Need To Know About The Case

But Kansas City police Maj. Steve Young tells PEOPLE, ”It’s hard to say somebody isn’t a suspect when you don’t have any.”

The open-ended case leads Jeremy and Deborah to believe that Lisa, who would turn 6 on Nov. 11, was abducted and is somewhere in the hands of another.

Both firmly trust she will be found and returned.

“No matter how much you love her, we don’t want you, we just want her,” Deborah says to the person or persons who she believes may have Lisa now. “At this point you obviously love her, but she needs to be with her family. Her brothers need her, me and Jeremy need her, and her entire family needs her. We just hope and pray that they do the right thing.”

“Knowing that I will eventually have her home,” Deborah tells PEOPLE, “that gets me out of bed every day.”

People Magazine Investigates airs Mondays (10 p.m. ET) on Investigation Discovery.