Nancy Grace

Alleged killers talked about corpse on Facebook?

A young couple reportedly partied at a bar after allegedly murdering a 19-year-old girl, then argued about how to dispose of her corpse in text and Facebook messages!

A young couple reportedly partied at a bar after allegedly murdering a 19-year-old girl, then argued about how to dispose of her corpse in text and Facebook messages!

Baby Lisa’s Grandfather Says Birthday Will Be Tough
November 7th, 2011
02:10 PM ET

Baby Lisa’s Grandfather Says Birthday Will Be Tough

“This whole thing is insanity times 10.”

That’s how the grandfather of missing baby Lisa Irwin described the coverage of the girl’s disappearance and the media’s treatment of her parents to the Kansas City Star in an article published Saturday.

David Netz told the paper he does not know how the family is going to handle Lisa’s first birthday later this week on November 11.

“That’s going to be the oh-my-God moment…What will we do? How will we get through that?” Netz said.

According to Netz, the scrutiny of his daughter, Deborah Bradley, and Lisa’s father, Jeremy Irwin, has reached the point where “Debbie and Jeremy can’t even relax and smoke on the back porch without seeing hidden cameras popping out of the brush.”

Lisa has not been seen since Bradley said she put her to sleep around 6:40 pm on October 3. She was reported missing around 4:00 am on October 4 when Irwin got home from work and discovered she was missing from her crib.

Netz told the Star that he does not believe it is possible that Bradley harmed Lisa or that the child died accidentally and the parents are covering it up.

"If they knew how Debbie prayed and prayed for a baby girl ever since her mother died because she wanted to name her Lisa," Netz said, "then they would know there is no way she could do anything to the baby, or God forbid, if something horrible happened, she wouldn't be able to keep that secret."

The paper also spoke to Hazel Bradley, the mother of Bradley’s estranged husband, who was similarly dismissive of the prospect of her daughter-in-law’s involvement in Lisa’s disappearance.

“She was a good mother…There’s just no way she could have done this, and she’s just not smart enough—not that she’s dumb—but she couldn’t cover up something like this so well,” Bradley said.

The Star reported that Netz claimed police accused Deborah Bradley of killing Lisa during interviews, told her they found a body and showed her burnt clothes. He also said police told Irwin that Bradley admitted to them that Lisa was not his child. According to the Star, police denied those allegations.

Police have told HLN that the parents have not agreed to sit down for separate, unrestricted interviews with detectives since October 8. Their attorney said to ABC that they are being cooperative but they do not want to be questioned by investigators who they feel have already concluded that they are guilty.

On Friday, police denied local media reports that they have stopped actively searching for Lisa. Sgt. Stacey Graves told Nancy Grace producer Natisha Lance that the investigation of her disappearance is still active. They had received more than 1,200 tips and cleared 959 of them at that point.

Although more than a month has passed since Lisa’s disappearance, Netz told the Star that he remains hopeful that she is alive.

“They can take her away, but they can’t take away her memory…Tell people to keep looking” Netz said.

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Filed under: Missing Persons • Story Updates
November 7th, 2011
02:00 PM ET

Police Search for Toddler Missing After Being Left Alone in Car

A Washington mother reported that her 2-year-old son was missing after she ran out of gas and left him alone in her car while she and her 4-year-old daughter went for help, Bellevue police said Sunday.

When the mother returned to the vehicle about an hour later, 2-year-old Sky Metalwala was gone. He was reported missing at 9:50 am on Sunday, cops told CNN.


Police are now looking for the boy with the assistance of the FBI and King County Search and Rescue, according to KIRO. Tracking dogs have scoured the surrounding area and a reverse 911 call was sent out in the neighborhood.

A police spokeswoman told KOMO that the search in the immediate area around the car was suspended Sunday night, but detectives would still be pursuing other leads throughout the night.

“They feel very confident they’ve been able to search the surrounding area where the child might have wandered off to,” Officer Carla Iafrate said.

KOMO reported that police were trying to identify places where Sky had been before his disappearance.

According to a police statement, Sky Metalwala is half-Indian, half-white, with brown eyes and dark buzz cut hair. He was last seen wearing a hooded sweatshirt and blue-and-gray striped pants.

Iafrate told CNN Sunday that both of the boy’s parents are cooperating with the investigation.

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Filed under: Missing Persons
November 4th, 2011
03:37 PM ET

New Search for Baby Kate Phillips in Michigan

Police announced Thursday that a new search is underway for evidence related to the June disappearance of 4-month-old Katherine Shelbie-Elizabeth Phillips.

According to a Ludington Police Department press release, investigators from several agencies are nearing completion of a search of an area off US-31 near railroad tracks in Amber Township. The search began on October 26 and is expected to be complete by Friday.


The area had previously been searched by Michigan State Police K-9 teams, but the new search also includes a small lake. Authorities are utilizing Ottawa County’s Remotely Operated Vessel, which has sonar and video equipment and is able to retrieve items from the water.

Police said Thursday morning that the underwater portion of the search is 95% complete. A land search has already been completed by officers on foot and horseback.

Katherine Phillips was reported missing on June 29 when her father, Sean Michael Phillips, allegedly drove away from her mother’s Ludington apartment with her in the car after an argument. Phillips was arrested at his parents’ house three hours later, but Katherine was gone and the clothes she was last seen wearing were found in his pocket, according to testimony at his preliminary hearing.

Phillips is in custody awaiting trial on charges of parental kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment in the case. A court clerk confirmed Thursday that a trial has been scheduled for January 17 in Mason County Circuit Court. A kidnapping charge was initially filed, but it was dismissed after paternity was confirmed because Michigan law does not allow that charge against a child’s parent.

WZZM reported in mid-October that Phillips had rejected a plea deal that would have involved pleading guilty to one charge, but the specific conditions of the deal were not disclosed.

Police said Thursday that $1,648.41 has been donated to the reward fund in the case. Investigators are still asking anyone with information about Sean Phillips’ activities between 1:00 and 4:00 pm on June 29 or information that could indicate where Katherine is to submit tips through

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Filed under: Missing Persons • Story Updates
November 4th, 2011
03:21 PM ET

Tennessee Mother of Four Missing Since Sunday

Tennessee authorities are searching for a 44-year-old mother of four who was reported missing on Sunday.

Karen Johnson Swift was last seen by her husband at their Dyersburg home at approximately 1:30 am on October 30, according to the Dyer County Sheriff’s Office. Her car, a white 2004 Nissan Murano, was later found with a flat tire near an intersection in northern Dyer County.

Chancery court records confirmed that Swift had filed for divorce on October 10. Her husband David has not yet filed a response.


Sheriff Jeff Box said in a press release Friday that authorities are intensifying their investigation and have been conducting aerial and ground searches for Swift. K-9 teams worked through Wednesday night into Thursday morning until weather conditions forced them to stop.

More than 40 law enforcement officers from several agencies were expected to participate in a large scale search Friday in Northern Dyer County, Box said.

Swift’s disappearance is still considered a missing person case and so far there are no signs of foul play, Box told the Dyersburg State Gazette. However, authorities are not ruling out that possibility.

WBBJ reported that Box confirmed there was activity on Swift’s cell phone around 5:00 am on Sunday. The phone is also missing.

Family members, including Swift’s husband and children, are cooperating fully and sharing information with investigators, according to the release. Friends and others from the community are also providing new information daily.

Authorities described Karen Johnson Swift as blonde, with green eyes, 5'5" tall and weights 138 pounds.

Anyone with information regarding Swift’s whereabouts or who recalls seeing anyone near her vehicle since her disappearance is asked to contact the Dyer County Sheriff's office at 731-285-2802.

Former Baby Lisa lawyer: 'One of us had to go'
October 31st, 2011
02:22 PM ET

Former Baby Lisa lawyer: 'One of us had to go'

A former attorney for the parents of missing 11-month-old Lisa Irwin vows to keep looking for the child, but hasn't explained why she parted ways with the family.

At a news conference Monday, Cyndy Short said she learned of her dismissal from media reports, rather than from baby Lisa’s parents or Joe Tacopina, the New York-based lawyer representing the family. She says she wasn't surprised.

Short told reporters she believes Tacopina expected her to be a ‘’less aggressive’’ player. While she worked the case ‘’from the ground’’ for ten days, she said Tacopina was in Rome. “Our goals and approach were so different that one of us had to go. And that someone is me.”

When asked who postponed interviews with Lisa’s young brothers and canceled all media appearances by parents Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin last week, Short said it was Tacopina.

Short said she and her firm will continue to devote time and resources to the case by fielding tips and forwarding them to law enforcement, as well as monitoring and maintaining the website devoted to the search for Lisa.

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Filed under: Missing Persons • Story Updates
October 28th, 2011
07:22 PM ET

Missing autistic boy found alive in Virginia

A nine-year-old autistic boy who disappeared in a Virginia park six days ago was found alive beside a creek bed Friday and was taken to an area hospital for evaluation, authorities say.

"No one on the team ever gave up and I have to say there were some times that you just had to reach down and find that faith that you were going to find him," Hanover County Sheriff David Hines said at a news conference.

‘’Prayers were answered,’’ Hines said, as he described the recovery of Robbie Wood, Jr., who has no verbal skills. The severely autistic boy wandered away from his father on Sunday in the 80-acre North Anna Battlefield Park.

A citizen found Wood lying in a creek bed off a roadway near a quarry property, Hines said. It was not clear if the person was searching for Wood, who apparently was in a fetal position about a mile from where he was last seen. Hines said the boy was alert and appeared in "good shape" but could not provide further details on his condition.

Hines could not estimate how long the boy had been in that specific area but said it had been searched before. Wood and his family were reunited at the hospital, he said.

During the week, search dogs were alerted to the boy’s scent in the area where his father said he vanished. Several thousand volunteers joined forces with hundreds of professional searchers after the sheriff’s office asked the public for help.

‘’We knew where he went missing, we know where he was found," Mike Trice, a sheriff’s spokesman told a WTVR reporter.

‘’Now we’ve got to connect the dots with how he went there. For us, we still have a lot of questions that we’d like answered. ‘’

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Filed under: Missing Persons
Investigators & Cadaver Dogs Scour Lake For Missing Baby Lisa
October 27th, 2011
01:56 PM ET

Investigators & Cadaver Dogs Scour Lake For Missing Baby Lisa

A team of 30 investigators and three cadaver dogs scoured a small lake Thursday in the search for missing 10-month-old Kansas City baby, Lisa Irwin.

For nearly two hours, K-9 handlers and cadaver dogs circled the lake’s banks while officers searched the water by boat.

Police say they targeted the lake located in a city park along Interstate 35 in efforts to widen their search area. The area is less than two miles from the family home where Lisa was last seen and a mile away from where multiple witnesses reportedly spotted a man carrying an unclothed baby the night Lisa went missing.

“We’re starting to expand the search further and further away from the home,” Kansas City police officer Darin Snapp told HLN. “It was not from a tip.” Snapp said there is no known connection between Lisa’s family and the search location.

Police say the area and had not been previously searched.

The dogs didn’t “hit” on anything during the canvass, according to Snapp. The search did not result in finding anything related to baby Lisa’s case.


October 25th, 2011
08:26 PM ET

Hundreds Join Search for Missing Autistic Boy

Over 1,000 volunteers turned out on Tuesday to assist in the search for an autistic boy who disappeared in a Virginia park two days ago.

9-year-old Robbie Wood Jr. has been missing since 3:00 pm Sunday, when authorities say he wandered away from his father in the 80-acre North Anna Battlefield Park. Hanover County Sheriff David Hines told the Richmond Times-Dispatch Tuesday that Robbie has no verbal skills and has "absolutely no awareness of his personal safety concerns."

Sheriff's spokesman Capt. Mike Trice said Tuesday that search dogs have alerted on the boy's scent in the area where the father said he vanished and other witnesses have confirmed seeing him there on Sunday. Trice described Robbie’s parents as emotional but "very cooperative. They've done everything that we’ve asked of them."

"We don't have information to indicate this is anything other than has been reported to us," Trice said.

He estimated 1,500-2,000 volunteers showed up Tuesday in response to a request for the public's help by the sheriff's office, and 889 of them were trained and sent out in the hunt for Robbie. The volunteers joined approximately 300 professional searchers in the park and surrounding areas.

Volunteers will be accepted and trained to participate in the search again on Wednesday. They are asked to meet in the Kings Dominion parking lot at 9:00 am. Trice advised potential volunteers to prepare for a “strenuous day” because of the rugged terrain.

The area where Robbie was last seen is close to a river, Trice said, and searchers are also looking in the river and on the property adjacent to it on the other side. According to Trice, the search has covered about 2,000 acres of land since Sunday.

Authorities and professional searchers will continue to look for Robbie overnight. Trice said they will "ramp up" their tactics at night, possibly utilizing thermal imaging technology. They will also try to define tasks for volunteers to focus on when they arrive on Wednesday.

A candlelight service was planned for Tuesday night at 7:30 at the Doswell Community Center in Doswell, VA, WTVR reported.

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No Comment from Police on Possible Eyewitnesses in Baby Lisa Case
October 25th, 2011
04:40 PM ET

No Comment from Police on Possible Eyewitnesses in Baby Lisa Case

Police would not comment Tuesday on the significance of surveillance video that appears to show a man walking less than two miles from Lisa Irwin’s home on the night she disappeared.

Kansas City Police Capt. Steve Young also declined to comment on eyewitness reports of a man seen carrying a baby wearing just a diaper in the area in the early hours of October 4. A couple living a few houses from Irwin’s parents saw a man and baby around 12:15 am, and another witness, Mike Thompson, saw a similarly-described man around 4:00 am about three miles away.

Lisa’s parents reported her missing from her crib around the same time that Thompson said he saw the man and baby. The video obtained by CNN was recorded at a gas station around 2:15 am. The walking figure is too far away to make out much detail.

According to ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Thompson said he was re-interviewed by authorities yesterday.

Attorneys for Lisa’s parents, Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin, have repeatedly said police should be focusing on these possible sightings instead of on their clients, who they insist had nothing to do with their daughter’s disappearance.

Attorney Joe Tacopina said in an interview on GMA Tuesday that it is “maddening” to hear a police spokesman suggest Bradley and Irwin are not being fully cooperative with investigators.

“They’ve done everything they’ve been asked to do…They have nothing to hide and they want answers,” Tacopina said.

Still, he did place one restriction on the parents sitting down to talk to police again. He said they would only agree to be re-interviewed “as long as the investigators doing the questioning are ones who have not previously determined guilt before having a stitch of evidence.”

He claimed that detectives accused Bradley of murdering Lisa just one hour after she was reported missing.

Tacopina also dismissed the cadaver dog “hit” in the couple’s bedroom described in a search warrant affidavit, saying the dog could have picked up the scent of a dirty diaper or toenail clippings. He maintained that is not necessarily evidence that a dead body had ever been there.

“You don’t hook your case on a dog wagging its tail in a bedroom,” he said.

Young reiterated to ABC News Tuesday that, while the parents have been cooperative in some ways, there are more questions that they need to address.

"We need them to sit down apart from each other, with detectives, and answer the tough questions detectives have for them concerning what they may or may not know about anything,” Young said.

Bradley and Irwin remained mostly silent in public on Monday. Asked why they would not speak to the local media, Bradley told KCTV they were not talking to reporters "because we are grieving.”

One of their attorneys, Cynthia Short, said they did not want to speak to reporters because they are afraid of the attention the case is bringing to their family, according to KMBC.

Bradley’s estranged husband has now spoken out about the case to NBC News. On NBC’s “Today Show” Tuesday, a reporter quoted Sean Bradley as saying Deborah “has always been a good mom.”

Sean Bradley told NBC he has been interviewed by the FBI.

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Filed under: Missing Persons • Story Updates
October 25th, 2011
01:36 PM ET

Mom Begs for Missing 5-Year-Old’s Return at Rally

At a rally outside the Arizona State Capitol on Monday, the mother of a missing 5-year-old girl begged for her return and lashed out at members of the local media for casting suspicion on her.

Jerice Hunter urged whoever has her daughter, Jhessye Shockley, to drop her off someplace safe, saying, “Please bring my baby back home…She’s scared. She’s scared. Please, I know she’s scared.”

Jahessye Shockley
Jahessye Shockley

When asked by a KNXV reporter if she had harmed Jhessye, though, Hunter responded loudly, “"It is very unfair to ask me that. Do I look like I hurt my daughter? Do I look like I hurt my daughter? Do I look like I hurt my daughter?"

She claimed that Glendale police have not done enough to find Jhessye, who she reported missing two weeks ago when she returned from running an errand and the girl was gone from their apartment. Monday’s rally was intended to raise public awareness of the case.

“My baby could be anywhere by now because they refused to believe that this black woman didn’t do nothing to her child,” Hunter said.

Hunter also criticized the media for bringing up her past, which includes pleading no contest to charges of causing injuries to her older children in California in 2006. At the time, she admitted to whipping one of her kids with an extension cord, according to court documents obtained by KNXV.

Hunter had told KNXV before a vigil on Saturday that news reports about her criminal history were endangering her family by letting her ex-husband, a registered sex offender currently incarcerated in California, know where she is. She did not elaborate on that claim.

During Monday’s rally, Hunter complained about the decision by Child Protective Services to remove her other children from her home.

“You done locked my other kids away like primates in a laboratory,” she said.

Jhessye’s grandmother, Shirley Johnson, attended a hearing on custody of the children on Monday, according to KPNX, but she was not allowed to discuss what happened afterward.

Johnson and Hunter have alleged that police and the media are not devoting enough resources to Jhessye’s case because she is black. Police spokesman Sgt. Brent Coombs adamantly denied that allegation last week, saying authorities do not care about a missing child’s race or nationality. They just want to find her.

Coombs said police have no suspects in the case, but they consider everyone who knew Jhessye a person of interest.

The Glendale Police Department and Silent Witness are offering an $11,000 reward for information leading to Jhessye’s return. Family members have told KNXV that they are also offering a $5,000 reward. To be eligible for the $11,000 reward, tips must be called in to 480-WITNESS (949-6377).

Filed under: Missing Persons • Story Updates
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