On Saturday, the legal team representing the family of kidnapped infant Lisa Irwin retracted statements suggesting that an unnamed teenager said neighborhood handyman, John Jersey Tanko bragged about a $300 payday for kidnapping the baby.
No. I haven't seen him since like Sep 11, said the teen to NBC Action News investigators.
The whole confusion started when the Irwin family lawyer, Joe Picerno, said on Friday that the teenager reportedly eavesdropped on Tanko's conversation with a stranger. He reportedly said that he was trying to follow the teenager.
Tanko is believed to have a criminal past, with a history of break-ins in the neighborhood of the Irwin's Kansas City home.
The 17-year-old teenager, who works as a dishwasher at a Kansas City restaurant, was found by NBC Action News, who spoke to him in the restaurant's parking lot. The boy denied every saying that Tanko told him anything about Lisa Irwin and events surrounding the night of Oct. 4.
However, the boy did acknowledge that there might be the possibility of Tanko being involved in the whole affair.
I told someone, I was like (expletive), Jersey was the kind of person where you could say here, here's $300, take care of this baby, and he would have done it, the boy said, That's all I've said. I haven't seen Jersey since weeks before all this happened actually.
Tanko could not be located for a couple of weeks after Lisa Irwin's disappearance. In addition, the Kansas police have said that he is not a suspect in the case and is, in fact, currently already in prison on an unrelated burglary charge.
Bill Stanton, a private investigator retained by the Irwins, said he had not spoken to the teen himself and was not sure whether Picerno had actually interviewed the teen.
Well, they might have, they may have, Stanton said, I'm not sure, but then again. It's the press that makes the headlines.
Until there's further investigation, I'm going to take him at his word, Stanton continued, I met his alleged girlfriend and she and her mother were giving this information. While it's interesting, it may be people who are overzealous.
Meanwhile, Picerno would offer no further comment and reportedly told NBC News, via email, that he was on a vacation out of town.