Police follow a lead linked to a phone that may have gone missing with the baby, a woman says

By Jeff Truesdell
November 09, 2011 06:00 PM
Kansas City Police Department/AP

Is it a phone call that could help crack the case of missing Baby Lisa Irwin?

More than four weeks into the investigation of the 10-month-old who vanished in the pre-dawn hours Oct. 4 from her parents’ Kansas City, Mo., home, police aren’t saying.

But it’s among the more intriguing developments in case: a possible call, placed the night Baby Lisa went missing from one of three cell phones that her parents believe was taken from the house along with their daughter.

The source of this information is a woman named Megan Wright, who says that police have questioned her several times about what they characterized as a 50-second call to her cell phone from the supposedly missing phone.

Wright is perplexed about why she was questioned. She doesn’t know Lisa’s parents, Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin, and has no information about the the baby’s disappearance.

RELATED: Baby Lisa’s Mom: ‘We Have Absolutely Nothing to Hide’

“I don’t know what was said, or who called, or who answered my phone,” Wright tells KCTV5, “but that’s what the police have been questioning me about.”

All she’s been told is that the call was apparently made the night the child disappeared. But the exact timing is uncertain; various news reports quoting sources say police believe the call was made at either 8:30 p.m., 11:57 p.m. or 2:30 a.m.

The child’s parents say the baby disappeared between when Lisa’s mom put her to bed at 6:40 p.m. and her dad returned around 4 a.m. from a late work shift to find the child – and the cell phones – gone.

Adding to the mystery: In the weeks before Baby Lisa disappeared, Wright says she ended a relationship with a transient neighborhood handyman, “Jersey” John Tanko, who has been questioned about the case.

Is there a link?

Tanko has cooperated, says the Kansas City spokesman Steve Young, and “we’re satisfied at the moment and we’re moving on. That’s not to say something may change later where we would like to speak to [him] again. That’s why I’m staying away from the word ‘cleared.’ Really, truly, the investigation is wide open. We aren’t ruling anything out yet.”

Also left unanswered: How could such a call have been placed?

According to Lisa’s parents, that call would have been impossible because their cell phone service was disrupted – meaning no outgoing calls – after the couple fell behind in their phone bill.

After speaking together and separately with police in the early days of the investigation, Bradley and Irwin have not consented to any further interrogations since Oct. 8, after they said they were accused by detectives.

They also have not agreed to let their other children, boys ages 5 and 8, to meet a second time with a child services worker to talk about that night.

Friday will mark Lisa’s first birthday. The hotline for tips is 816-474-TIPS (816-474-8477).