Kansas City lawyer leaves missing baby case

AP News
Posted: Oct 28, 2011 4:23 PM
Kansas City lawyer leaves missing baby case

The Kansas City lawyer for the family of baby reported missing more than three weeks ago announced Friday she has stopped representing the family, leaving them with one New York-based attorney.

Cyndy Short said in a one-sentence emailed statement that she "is no longer working with the family of Lisa Irwin as their local counsel." Short did not immediately respond to phone and email messages seeking an explanation about her departure and her brief tenure representing Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin.

Bradley and Irwin reported their 10-month-old daughter, Lisa Irwin, missing Oct. 4 after Jeremy Irwin returned from a late shift at work. Police have conducted several searches and cleared hundreds of leads in the baby's disappearance, but say there are no suspects.

The family's other lawyer, Joe Tacopina of New York, has declined to say who hired him to represent the family. He also did not immediately respond Friday to email and phone messages asking about Short's announcement that she was no longer involved. It was unclear Friday who would serve as local counsel for the family.

Short's departure comes the same day the couple's other two children had been scheduled for a second interview with a forensic specialist. The boys' parents say their sons were in the family's home the night of the baby's disappearance and were interviewed by a specialist Oct. 4.

On Wednesday, Short said Bradley and Irwin decided to allow the boys to be interviewed again and that those second interviews were expected by the end of this week.

"In the end the decision to allow a second interview was made after assurances that the interviews would be done in a safe place and would be done by a specially trained social worker," Short said in a statement Wednesday.

On Thursday, Short said the last few weeks had been "exhausting to everyone working on behalf of the Irwin family" and that she was postponing "all appointments in Kansas City today and tomorrow."

Tacopina then called investigators late Thursday to say the family requested that the boys' interviews be postponed until next week, said police spokesman Capt. Steve Young. Tacopina did not set up a date for the second interviews, Young said.

The second interviews with the children, like their first interviews, would be done with care and that the parents or lawyers would not be allowed in, he said.

"It will be set up just like all child interviews are," Young said. "Attorneys and parents will not be around to even watch them. That's just the way it is."

Jim Roberts, spokesman for the Clay County prosecutor's office, said his office would not compel the children to be interviewed a second time because the parents are their legal guardians, and as such the parents "are largely in the driver's seat as far as that goes."