Gabriel Johnson

Missing Since12/27/2009, Missing From: San Antonio, Texas, Classification: Endangered Missing Sex: Male, Race: White Date of Birth: 05/03/2009 (13) Age: 7 months old Height and Weight: 2’0, 20 pounds Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian male and Light brown hair, blue eyes.

Gabriel Johnson

Details of Gabriel Johnson Disappearance

On December 18, 2009, Gabriel Johnson was abducted from Tempe, Arizona by his mother, Elizabeth Joanne Johnson. She drove her grandfather’s white 1995 Oldsmobile Delta 88 to San Antonio, Texas. They arrived on December 22 and stayed in two nearby motels.

On December 27, Gabriel Johnson was last seen with his mother. She took a Greyhound bus out of San Antonio without the baby, leaving her grandfather’s car behind.

She was supposed to appear in family court in Arizona on December 28 for a custody hearing, but she did not show up, and a warrant for custodial interference was issued.

On December 30, Elizabeth was arrested at a youth hostel in Miami Beach, Florida. Gabriel Johnson was not with her at the time and has since vanished. Elizabeth was eventually charged with custodial interference, kidnapping, and child abuse.

Logan Scott McQueary, Gabriel Johnson’s father, received a series of disturbing text messages from Elizabeth on December 27. She said he’d never see Gabriel Johnson again and that she’d murdered him and thrown him in the trash. She also called him and told him that she had murdered the baby.

Claims were false

She later admitted that those claims were false and that she made them up to annoy McQueary. Elizabeth claimed she gave Gabriel to a childless man and woman she met in a San Antonio park. She thought it was a closed adoption.

She claimed to have spent three days with the couple, but she purposefully tried not to remember their last names or the make of their car so she wouldn’t be able to take Gabriel back if she changed her mind. Elizabeth stated that the woman’s first name was Cheryl, but she couldn’t recall the man’s.

Gabriel Johnson was being considered for adoption at the time of his disappearance by Tammi Peters Smith and Jack Smith, a couple who lived near the child’s home. They had bonded with him after spending a few weeks with him in December.

Elizabeth’s ex-boyfriend

McQueary, Elizabeth’s ex-boyfriend, refused to relinquish his parental rights. He claimed the Smiths were attempting to coerce him into agreeing to the adoption. This case summary includes photographs of Elizabeth, McQueary, and the Smiths.

Because they were the last people to see Gabriel before he left Arizona, Tammi and Jack are considered persons of interest in his disappearance. Authorities suspected the Smiths of withholding information about Gabriel’s whereabouts.

The Smiths backed Elizabeth and said they believed Gabriel Johnson was safe and could be returned home if McQueary agreed to give them custody.

Tammi was arrested and charged with forgery, custodial interference, and conspiracy to commit custodial interference in Gabriel’s case in February 2010.

Gabriel Johnson

Tammi had played a “deceptive role” in the investigation, according to court documents, making numerous false statements to the media and police, as well as withholding information from investigators. She keeps her innocence.

Tammi did admit that she signed a paternity document with the name of one of her cousins, stating that he, not McQueary, was Gabriel’s biological father. Tammi was found guilty on all charges in May 2012.

McQueary was granted full custody of Gabriel three months after his disappearance, and Elizabeth was denied visitation or any access to the child.

Ken Gamble, a private investigator hired by McQueary, believes Gabriel is still alive and that Elizabeth gave him away or sold him to a couple in San Antonio. Gamble stated that he had proof that a third party arranged for Elizabeth to meet this couple and give them Gabriel to adopt.

Gamble estimated that the man and woman were in their thirties or forties. The man was tall and had short dark hair, while the woman was around 5’6 tall and had long blonde hair. Gamble believes the couple was aware that their adoption of Gabriel Johnson was illegal, and Gabriel Johnson is likely no longer in the San Antonio area. He could be dressed as a girl.

According to an adoption expert, the Homegate Hotel, one of the San Antonio hotels where Elizabeth stayed, is well-known in the adoption community. Birth mothers are placed in hotels by adoption agencies to meet adoptive parents and complete paperwork. The birth mother will usually bring the child to meet the adoptive parents in a public place in illegal or “underground” adoptions.

Gabriel’s last known photographs were taken with Elizabeth’s cell phone in the Home gate Hotel. He is seen holding a medicine bottle, possibly infant Tylenol, and appears lethargic, with his eyes half-closed in several of them.

Elizabeth’s babysitter, who didn’t know Gabriel Johnson had been kidnapped, claimed Elizabeth told her she had given Gabriel some medicine and to give him more if he became fussy.

During a jailhouse interview with a police detective in May 2010, Elizabeth allegedly confessed to Gabriel’s murder for the third time. Her attorneys claimed she was taking medication at the time of the interview and sought to have it excluded as evidence because they were not present.

Elizabeth, according to McQueary, was unstable and had once ransacked his apartment and cut up his clothing. Elizabeth’s grandfather suspects she has bipolar disorder.

Elizabeth was disruptive in jail, refusing to eat and assaulting other inmates. She was eventually transferred to the psychiatric unit of the jail. When questioned about Gabriel in court, she repeatedly invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

She was declared incompetent to stand trial in June 2010. She was found competent in September after three months of court-ordered treatment.

Elizabeth was found guilty

Elizabeth was sentenced in October of 2012. She was found guilty of custodial interference and unlawful imprisonment, but the jury couldn’t agree on the kidnapping charge. Despite her lawyer’s plea for probation, she was sentenced to five and a half years in prison. She was given credit for three years of service.

At her December 2012 sentencing, Elizabeth apologised for her actions and stated that she had given Gabriel away because she wanted him to have a better life. In July 2014, she was released from prison.

Gabriel’s disappearance is being investigated as a kidnapping/homicide. They stated that they believe Elizabeth murdered her son and are considering charging her with murder. Gabriel is still missing, and his case remains unsolved.

Investigating Agencies

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation 210-225-6741
  • San Antonio Police Department 210-207-7273
  • Tempe Police Department 480-350-8311

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