A year after 11-month-old Lisa Irwin disappeared, a Northland couple said Wednesday night they have never given up hope and continue to pray for their child’s safe return.
Parents Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin held a candlelight prayer vigil outside their home that was attended by nearly 100 relatives, neighbors and others.
Throughout the vigil, Bradley and Irwin held a small tea candle in one hand and each other tightly with the other. Both sobbed as a prayer was offered.
“Lord, we ask again today like we do every day for you to safely return Lisa here to her parents and brothers,” said Irwin’s sister, Ashley Irwin. “...You’ve numbered the hairs on Lisa’s head, and Lord we know you are watching after her.”
Today marks the anniversary of Lisa’s disappearance from her home in the 3600 block of North Lister Avenue. Her father returned home from his late-shift job on Oct. 4 and found the front door open, several lights on and her mother asleep. Lisa’s crib was empty.
“We know everything on this earth happens for a reason,” Ashley Irwin said. “…. Lord, we sure don’t know what that plan is and we don’t understand why your plan has to unfold this way but one thing we do know that if we hold steadfast …. and believe in you; you will answer our prayers.”
At one point during the prayer, Bradley knelt to console one of Lisa’s half-brothers, who was crying.
Both parents have maintained that someone broke into their home and snatched Lisa while she slept.
Many attending the vigil wore white T-shirts with the word “kidnapped” above a large picture of Lisa. The crowd read a prayer seeking God’s protection of Lisa until she is reunited with her family.
“The light of God surrounds her. The love of God enfolds her,” the crowd prayed. “The presence of God protects her. The presence of God watches over her.”
Those in attendance also distributed yellow “Find Baby Lisa” bracelets, bumper stickers and business cards bearing Lisa’s face that solicited information on her whereabouts.
Police have investigated 1,667 tips, including 500 alleged sightings around the world. Investigators also have shared their case files with national experts.
Lisa still is classified as a missing or abducted child. There is no evidence to suggest she is dead.
Bradley has said that she had nothing to do with her daughter’s disappearance, but she has admitted drinking the night Lisa disappeared.
A $100,000 reward is still being offered for information about the disappearance. The couple’s attorney, John Picerno, said Bradley and Irwin have cooperated with investigators and will continue to do so.
After the vigil, Irwin and Bradley thanked those who have supported them during the ordeal.
“We just ask that you keep Lisa in your prayers,” Bradley said. “We are absolutely not giving up until she comes home.”