MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- Riley County Police say a child spotted at McAlister's Deli in Manhattan that matched the description of Lisa Irwin was not the missing baby from Kansas City whose disappearance has gripped the nation.
The 10-month-old vanished from her Kansas City home exactly two weeks ago.
Around 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, a woman eating at McAlister's Deli off of Tuttle Creek Boulevard says she spotted two women with a baby that matched the missing child's description.
The possible sighting made headlines around the nation and soon major news agencies like Inside Edition, CNN and FOX News were calling the RIley County Police Department and McAlister's looking for information along with the Kansas CIty news agencies, who have been following the story closely for weeks.
"We had a call from a woman who was inside McAlister's who saw a child that looked like the missing baby with two women that, for whatever reason, kind of made her feel suspicious in the way they reacted to her looking at them. When they left the business, she got a vehicle description and direction of travel of the car and she then notified the police," said Captain Kurt Moldrup, an administrator with the Riley County Police Department.
The witness described the car as a small black vehicle, 1998-1999 model with possible Missouri tags. She told officers the car headed north on Tuttle Creek Boulevard towards Riley but after that, Moldrup says the driver could have turned and went in any direction. Tuttle Creek Boulevard is a main arterial roadway in Manhattan, with access to Highway 24 and K-177 and K-18, both of which lead to Interstate 70. Moldrup could not provide a description of the women that were with the child.
"We were unable to locate any such vehicle. We then put out an attempt to locate to other area agencies just to make sure we had the bases covered. Obviously, we took this tip seriously but that's all we have. We have no way of knowing whether it was the baby or not. We treat it as such. We've also notified the Kansas City Police Department, the agency handling her disappearance," Captain Moldrup added.
When asked how sure the witness was that the baby she saw was Lisa Irwin, he responded, "She was sure enough that she felt she need to call us." The woman, whose name is not being released, was being interviewed Tuesday afternoon and Moldrup said officers would be looking for any surveillance footage captured in the area.
13 News contacted the Topeka Police Department who said they had not been alerted to the incident. The Kansas Highway Patrol in Salina also said they were not alerted as of 3:00 p.m.
Kansas Highway Patrol in Topeka said they had been alerted by what they say was another law enforcement agency of the possible sighting and vehicle description. They said the alert was based on a report from an individual and that no area Amber Alert was issued.
The Kansas Highway Patrol in Topeka told 13 News that Riley County is the lead agency in providing information as to a possible sighting of Lisa Irwin.
Officials in neighboring Junction City and Geary County said they were not aware of any notifications that members of their agencies received on the incident but Captain Moldrup says Riley County dispatchers did put out a notice after the call came in from McAlister's. He confirms that an Amber Alert was not issued.
Customers coming out of the restaurant after the incident told 13 News they were shocked about the possible sighting but hopeful because it would mean that Baby Lisa is alive.
Then, at 7:30 PM Tuesday, Moldrup issued the following press release:
"On October 18, 2011 the Riley County Police Department received a report that a child similar in appearance to the missing child commonly known as "Baby Lisa" which was reported to have been abducted in the Kansas City area may have been sighted. The Riley County Police conducted an investigation into this report and worked through the evening to confirm that the child seen was not the child missing from Kansas City.
During the investigation, Kansas City Missouri Police Investigators were notified of the possible sighting and were also notified when Riley County Police were able to confirm that the child was not "Baby Lisa". Although this report did not lead to the discovery of the missing child, the Riley County Police encourages citizens to continue to be vigilant and to report any and all suspicious or criminal behavior they observe."
Captain Moldrup says through "investigative techniques," officers tracked down one of the women that was with the child and police spoke with her in person and confirmed she was at the deli and does have a small child who resembles Baby Lisa.
Earlier Information On Missing Baby Lisa Irwin
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The mother of a missing Missouri baby may not be casting herself in the best light by telling national media that she drank heavily the night her daughter disappeared and other unflattering details, but her honesty shows that she and her family "have nothing to hide," her attorney said.
Deborah Bradley told television audiences Monday that she may have blacked out in the hours before she and Jeremy Irwin reported that their 10-month-old daughter, Lisa Irwin, was missing from their Kansas City home early Oct. 4. Bradley also now says she last saw her daughter hours earlier than she originally told police.
"I don't recall in recent history anyone under this umbrella of suspicion be so open and forthright, warts and all, regarding the events. Because they have nothing to hide," said attorney Joe Tacopina, who held a press conference Monday to announce he had been hired to represent the couple.
The parents reported their daughter missing after Irwin returned home from working a night shift and found the front door unlocked, the house lights on, a window tampered with and the baby gone. Bradley and their two sons were asleep elsewhere in the house.
Police have said they have no suspects in the case and no major leads. On Monday, the parents allowed the FBI to bring tracking dogs through their home. The FBI also searched a neighbor's house with the dogs, as well as the yard of the home where Bradley and Irwin have been staying with their two sons.
Bradley had said in previous days that she checked on Lisa at 10:30 p.m. on Oct. 3, but on Monday told NBC's "Today" show that she actually last saw Lisa when she put her to bed at 6:40 p.m. She did not explain why she changed her story.
Bradley told Fox News that she got drunk after she put her daughter to bed that night and may have blacked out. She said she "probably" drank more than five glasses of wine, and said she frequently drank at home after her children were safely in bed. She also said she had taken a dose of anti-anxiety medication that day.
Bradley told NBC that police accused her of killing Lisa, but she insisted again that she had not harmed her daughter.
"No, no. ... I don't think alcohol changes a person enough to do something like that," she said.
Tacopina, who also defended Joran Van der Sloot, the Dutch man suspected in the 2005 disappearance of Natalee Holloway in Aruba, said Bradley detailing her drinking the night Lisa went missing "goes to her credibility."
"That's something she was willing to tell the truth about even if it didn't make her look good because she's got nothing to hide," said Tacopina, who refused to say who was paying him and would only say that he had been hired to counsel the parents through the investigation.
Sean O'Brien, associate professor of law at University of Missouri-Kansas City, said it was difficult to read anything into Bradley's remarks about her drinking or about what police told her. But he said it was wise for the parents to hire a lawyer, and they likely should have done so earlier given what Bradley has said about police accusing her of being involved in the baby's disappearance.
"When the questioning becomes accusatory ... it's time to shut up and lawyer up," O'Brien said.
But he noted that police remain the family's "best hope" of finding the baby, so Bradley would want to continue cooperating.