Northland well being searched as part of baby Irwin (Kansas City)

Kansas City firefighters are searching a Northland well in connection with the case of missing baby Lisa Irwin, who was born 11 months ago today.

Firefighters went to the backyard of a vacant home in the 3800 block of North Brighton Avenue about 10:30 this morning to search a 3-foot-wide well under a deck. The home is two blocks east and two blocks north of the Irwin home.

Workers set up a tripod and other equipment on the deck before lowering a firefighter into the well at 11:11 a.m. The firefighter reported feeling something but wasn’t sure what. Firefighters lowered a different person into the well at 11:45 a.m.

About 12:15 p.m., two large trucks arrived with suction equipment for draining 9 feet of water from the well to make sure nothing is there.

A tipster told police that the home had a well, police said. Searching it “was the prudent thing to do,” said Capt. Steve Young, a police spokesman.

The house has been empty for several years, neighbors say, and has become an eyesore. It long has been covered with vines, branches and overgrowth. It was only in the last several weeks that a crew arrived to clear off that overgrowth.

“That’s how bad it was,” said Walt Roseburrough, a resident of the neighborhood since 1966. “You could have driven by the house and not even known it was there.”

Some of the houses in the area date to the 1940s, he said. He believes the house was built then.

Residents of many homes in the area still use septic tanks, said Edith Caray. A sanitary sewer line was just installed along North Brighton Avenue earlier this year, she said. Several of the homes in the area could have wells, she said.

Police shut down Brighton at Parvin Road during the search.

Also today, an aunt of missing 11-month-old Lisa Irwin told The Star that comments she gave on Good Morning America this morning were taken out of context and she had no knowledge of any police plan to arrest the girl’s mother.

“It is my fault because I did not choose my words carefully enough to articulate the point I was trying to convey,” said Ashley Irwin.

Hypothetically, Irwin said, police tend to focus their investigative efforts on the parents of a missing child if other leads fail to materialize.

“When they don’t have suspects, when they don’t have any leads, then it always circles back around to square one, which is the parents,” she told The Star.

Earlier, on television, she said: “It is what the police do; they don’t have any leads so they have to pin it on somebody.”

In response to the television interview, Young said any claim that police were trying to pin the disappearance on the child’s mother “was absolutely not true.”

“We don’t feel any pressure to accuse any body,” Young said. “We are under pressure to do what we can to find a child.”

He added that he hasn’t heard anything about a pending arrest in the case. He said is a “bit of a stretch” and “speculation” by the family that an arrest was coming soon.

Today marks the one week mark of Lisa disappearance. Lisa was reported missing about 4 a.m. Oct. 4 after her father, Jeremy Irwin, returned home from work as an electrician and discovered she was gone from her bedroom.

Bradley told police she last saw Lisa at 10:30 p.m. Oct. 3 sleeping in her crib. Police and federal authorities launched a massive search and interviewed her parents multiple times. They have knocked on hundreds of doors, searched nearby homes and searched area woods multiple times, including with dogs and on horseback.

On Monday, a Clay County grand jury issued subpoenas to all the local network TV affiliates, requesting any raw footage of interviews with missing infant Lisa Irwin’s family, friends or neighbors.

At the urging of police, the prosecutor’s office requested the subpoenas of an existing grand jury, a source said.

KCTV-5, The Star’s reporting partner, reported it had received a subpoena, as did WDAF, KMBC and KSHB.

The subpoena orders at least two of the stations to appear at 9 a.m. Oct. 18. It is unclear whether the stations would comply. KCTV said it was consulting with its attorney.

Investigators on Monday returned to the Irwin home in the 3600 block of North Lister Avenue, which is in Clay County, to search the backyard again.

A crime scene technician and several Kansas City detectives spent more than an hour at the home Monday. It was unclear what they were looking for.

At one point, detectives looked in the neighbor’s backyard. One climbed partly over a privacy fence gate to release a latch. The other detectives then went inside the fenced area.

Meanwhile, other investigators interviewed a person at that residence. At one point, a woman came outside and sat on the front stoop as a man consoled her until a detective summoned her back inside. The woman soon left in a private vehicle.

The child’s disappearance continues to have an impact on the larger community. A North Kansas City School District official said that many of the district’s younger students have expressed fears about being kidnapped by a stranger.

“Our goal is to make sure all children attending our schools feel their school is a safe place,” said Mary Jo Burton, a district spokeswoman.

Earlier Monday, reports surfaced of a homeless man seen in the neighborhood in the weeks leading up to the girl’s possible kidnapping.

Norval C. Nichols, who lives about a block from Lisa’s home, said that police showed him a photograph last week of the homeless man and asked about any possible connection to the missing child. The man once was seen in the neighborhood riding a red bicycle, he said.

Nichols said he also saw the man about a week or two before Lisa was reported missing, but not afterward. The two men spoke briefly at a nearby park weeks ago. The man told Nichols that he was looking for a job or any handiwork in the neighborhood.

Ashley Irwin told Good Morning America that she has no doubt that Bradley was not involved in the infant’s disappearance.

“She is genuine,” she said. “She loves that child. It is her baby. She would never do anything to hurt her.”

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