Search for Baby Gabriel: Deception Fueling Frustration as Cops Track Leads

Baby Gabriel Johnson and his mother, Elizabeth Johnson.

An Arizona mother accused of hiding her infant son from his father on a cross-country trip has been charged with kidnapping and child abuse, and she has still not told police where she left the baby or whether he's even still alive.

Elizabeth Johnson, 23, was extradited to Arizona, and investigators are now looking at another couple who had been in talks to possibly adopt Johnson's son, Gabriel, as persons of interest.

Though Gabriel was last seen by witnesses in San Antonio, the FBI went to Nashville, Tenn., to investigate leads that did not, authorities said, turn up evidence on Gabriel's whereabouts.

VIDEO: Baby Gabriels mother is charged with kidnapping and child abuse.
null

Though the baby's father, Logan McQueary, has said he received text messages from Johnson saying that she killed their son after he refused to sign paperwork terminating his parental rights, Johnson told a Phoenix television station that she simply gave the baby to an unknown couple in a San Antonio park.

It was a story she also relayed to Tammi and Jack Smith, the couple who said they were ready to adopt Gabriel from Johnson before she fled. They denied knowing where Gabriel was being kept, but police believe they may be hiding information.

The two took lie detector tests last week, but police have not yet publicized the results.

Though the couple had initially stuck by Johnson, they told "Good Morning America" today that they are now starting to doubt the young mother.

VIDEO: Babys dad says mother ran off with son after he refused to sign adoption papers
null

"I feel like a fool," Tammi Smith said.

"Stop whatever charade is being played," Jack Smith added. "Tell them where the baby is, and let's get back to our normal lives."

Last week, McQueary appeared on "Good Morning America" and begged for Gabriel's return.

"Please, do the right thing and turn him over. Don't worry about getting in trouble or anything like that," McQueary pleaded. "Please. I want my son back."

Johnson Denies Harming Son

Johnson, 23, of Tempe, Ariz., was arrested Dec. 29 in Miami Beach without Gabriel and was initially charged only with interfering with custody.

"We are receiving some indications that Gabriel is still alive, and we're very optimistic about that," Tempe Police Sgt. Steve Carbajal told "Good Morning America" last week.

In a jailhouse interview this week with a Phoenix CBS affiliate, Johnson denied harming their son, saying she told McQueary she had killed Gabriel to get back at him.

"He had ruined my life, and he hurt me, and I wanted to hurt him," she said. "And that was the only thing I could say that would hurt him."

She claimed in the same interview that she didn't know anything about the couple she left her son with, other than that they seemed trustworthy.

Cops: Couple Claiming to Be Gabriel's Adoptive Parents Have No Rights to Child

Johnson's grandfather, Bob Johnson, told ABC News that he doesn't believe his granddaughter's story that she simply left her child with an unknown couple.

"I think that she has given the baby to somebody, and I think she knows who it is," he said. "I think it's in San Antonio in somebody else's house, and she just ain't given it up.

"She has an anger-management problem, and she's working on that," Bob Johnson said.

A search of Johnson's car -- found by the FBI last Tuesday in San Antonio -- yielded no obvious clues or evidence of violence, police say.

Motherhood was never really Johnson's strong suit, Bob Johnson said.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Firefighters rescue a woman who got stuck in a chimney in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Ventura County Fire Department
PHOTO: Apple Pay is demonstrated at Apple headquarters on Oct. 16, 2014 in Cupertino, Calif.
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo
PHOTO: Up in Ash: Mount Sinabung Erupting
Tibt Nangin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
PHOTO: Defendant Jodi Arias testifies about killing Travis Alexander in 2008 during her murder trial in Phoenix, Feb. 20, 2013.
Charlie Leight/The Arizona Republic/AP Photo
PHOTO: Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, their daughter North West and Delphine Arnault attend the Givenchy show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2015, Sept. 28, 2014 in Paris.
Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/French Select/Getty Images