updated 10/26/2011 AT 7:00 AM ET
•originally published 10/26/2011 AT 3:15 PM ET
Accused during police questioning in the disappearance of their missing daughter, the parents of 10-month-old Lisa Irwin want a new set of detectives to meet with them before they will agree to sit down for any further interrogation.
That’s the word from an attorney, Cyndy Short, who tells PEOPLE that her clients, parents Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin, are on “an emotional roller coaster” as the search for Lisa hits Day 23.
Bradley, 25, and Irwin, 29, initially spent hours with police but have not consented to be questioned since Oct. 8, according to police, although they have remained available to investigators who are following up leads.
“I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to detail the conversations that take place between the detectives and the attorneys,” says Kansas City Police spokesman Capt. Steve Young.
“But I do know the detectives have outlined what we need to them, and as of [Tuesday] afternoon, the parents have not sat down with detectives,” Young said. “Any discussion of conditions to that happening need to take place between detectives and the attorneys, not through me to the media.”
Bradley has said that within hours of the parents’ 911 call in which they reported Lisa missing from her crib around 4 a.m. on Oct. 4, police summoned to the scene pointed the finger at her.
The mother was home with Lisa and the couple’s two other sons when Irwin returned home from a late-night work shift to find the front door unlocked, lights on, a window open and Lisa missing.
Police have not commented on their findings – including their response to reports that at least two witnesses saw an unidentified man carrying a baby in the vicinity – and they’ve named no suspects.
Parents Want New Detectives
But the accusation – along with Bradley’s statement that police told her she failed a lie detector test – has prompted the couple to request new detectives who will consider the theory that their daughter may have been kidnapped, says their local lawyer, who is assisting the family alongside prominent New York defense attorney Joe Tacopina.
Until Wednesday, the couple also had declined to let their other two children – Michael, 5, and Blake, 8 – be interviewed a second time in the investigation. Both boys were questioned, one for 50 minutes and the other for about 30 minutes, on the morning of the day their sister disappeared. Police now say the parents have agreed to bring the boys in to meet on Friday with a child services professional – not detectives – and submit a Q-Tip swab for DNA to clear them from any evidence collected in the home, says Kansas City Police Officer Darin Snapp.
Says Short: “It was logical and necessary in a case like this to look at all the people who are in the life of this child. We’re not saying [the parents] should not have been examined. It needed to be examined. But it seemed like for so many days they were stuck there [on the parents], which meant losing the opportunity to truly find this little girl.”
“In order to find justice, law enforcement must remain open and unbiased,” she says. “I’m not inside the investigation. We just hope there are many things going on that we can’t see. We have to hope that those that we are allowed to see aren’t the only things happening in the investigation.”
“Hope is what they’re living on,” she says of the parents. “They are drained of strength at times, and there’s really no road map on the journey they’re on. They’re just hoping and praying that someone will make that one tip.”
The TIPS Hotline is 816-474-TIPS (816-474-8477).
With reporting by PAM GROUT