Overview of Gabriel Johnson
Gabriel Johnson was abducted by his mother, Elizabeth Joanne Johnson, from Tempe, Arizona, on December 18, 2009. After taking Gabriel to San Antonio, Texas, driving her grandfather's white 1995 Oldsmobile Delta 88, they stayed at two motels in the area. Gabriel was last seen with his mother on December 27. She left San Antonio by Greyhound bus that same day, without the baby, leaving her grandfather's car behind in San Antonio. She was supposed to appear for a custody hearing in family court in Arizona on December 28 but never showed up. A warrant for custodial interference was issued, and Elizabeth was later arrested in a Miami Beach youth hostel in Florida on December 30.
Gabriel's father, Logan Scott McQueary, received a series of distressing text messages from Elizabeth on December 27, saying that she had killed Gabriel and thrown him in a trash bin. Elizabeth later stated that those claims were false, and she had given Gabriel to a man and a childless woman she had met in a San Antonio park. She considered it a closed adoption.
Gabriel was being considered for adoption by Tammi Peters Smith and Jack Smith, who spent several weeks with him in December and had bonded with him. McQueary, who is Elizabeth's ex-boyfriend, refused to give up his parental rights and believed that the Smiths were coercing him into agreeing to the adoption.
Tammi was later arrested and charged with forgery, custodial interference, and conspiracy to commit custodial interference in Gabriel's case. She maintained her innocence but was convicted of all charges in May 2012. In March 2010, McQueary was granted full custody of Gabriel, and Elizabeth was denied visitation or access to the child.
Private investigator Ken Gamble believes Gabriel is alive and was given away or sold by Elizabeth to a couple in San Antonio. He described the man and woman as being in their thirties or forties and thought the couple was aware that their adoption of Gabriel wasn't legal. However, Elizabeth reportedly confessed to Gabriel's murder a third time during a jailhouse interview in May 2010.
Elizabeth was tried in October 2012 and convicted of custodial interference and unlawful imprisonment. She was sentenced to five and a quarter years in prison. However, she was released in July 2014, and Gabriel remains missing. The authorities are investigating Gabriel's disappearance as a kidnapping/homicide, and Elizabeth is considered a suspect. Gabriel's case remains unsolved.