New York City defense attorney Joe Tacopina hired to represent Irwin family

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A prominent New York City defense attorney has been hired to represent the parents of missing Lisa Irwin. 

Joe Tacopina said during a news conference Monday that he had been hired to represent Jeremy Irwin and Deborah Bradley. Tacopina has handled many high profile cases. He represented Joran van der Sloot, the man suspected in the 2005 disappearance of Natalee Holloway in Aruba. He also represented Melanie McGuire, a fertility nurse accused of murdering and dismembering her husband.

Tacopina praised Kansas City police for their investigation but insisted the parents have "nothing to hide."

Tacopina said he had been in contact with the family for more than a week. He added that in his mind, there's no question Deborah and Jeremy had nothing to do with the disappearance.

"I'm a little disappointed about what I've heard that some people who are supposed to be helping them find their daughter are casting disparations at them or just flat out accusations at them without any evidence," said Tacopina.

He doesn't believe police have anything tying Deborah and Jeremy to the disappearance of little Lisa. He will allow the family to speak to investigators, but only if he believes it will help locate Lisa.

"Do your investigation. Start right here, it's absolutely normal to start right here, but don't come to a conclusion before you have evidence and then look for the evidence. Keep an open mind and let's find out what happened to Lisa. That's all I'm saying," said Tacopina.

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Lisa, who will turn 1 on Nov. 11, has not been seen since Monday, Oct. 3. Her parents initially said her mother put her to bed around 10:30 p.m., but NBC News reported Monday they are now saying she put Lisa to bed closer to 6:30 p.m.

Bill Stanton, a private investigator who said he came to Kansas City as a consultant to the family, was also at the news conference Monday with Lisa's parents and Tacopina.

Stanton will be leaving Kansas City Monday night. He said he entered this with a definite date in mind which is Monday. He encourages anyone with information to give it to police, not him. His absence does not mean he will not be involved with the case in the same capacity. He said the main focus of the family is to find Lisa.

"She is still out there," said Stanton.

Police say they have no suspects in Lisa's disappearance and they continue to follow every lead they receive.

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Articles related to Tacopina:

http://www.lawcrossing.com/article/2841/The-Rocky-Balboa-of-Criminal-Defense-Law-Joseph-Tacopina/

http://articles.nydailynews.com/2011-05-13/news/29553998_1_officer-kenneth-moreno-franklin-mata-edward-mandery

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