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Episode 100

Where is Baby Gabriel?

July 26, 2021   Tags: , , ,
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In December 2009, Elizabeth Johnson took her seven month old son Gabriel to San Antonio, Texas, from Tempe, Arizona. His father Logan McQueary was supposed to pick him up on 20th for his first Christmas. Instead he received a text a week later saying Elizabeth had killed him. By the time authorities catch up to Elizabeth, Gabriel is no longer with her and she says she gave him up for adoption. It's been twelve years and there's been no sign of Gabriel. 

Life Before Gabriel's Disappearance:
Logan and Elizabeth began dating in 2007. According to Logan it had its ups and downs. But the downs weren’t frequent until the couple found out they were pregnant in 2008. Elizabeth flip flopped on whether she wanted to have the baby at all. 

In the end the couple decided to keep the baby. On May 3rd, 2009, Gabriel was born. Elizabeth’s mood swings became more severe. She would break things in the home, threaten violence and at times not even care for Gabriel.  

Logan had been understandably worried about Gabriel. He felt the only way to keep him safe was to leave the relationship for good. He planned to do so in early December 2009. Elizabeth initially said he couldn’t leave. Then told him if he did, he had to take Gabriel. So that’s what he did. Within hours, Elizabeth called the police and told them Logan kidnapped her son. 

Logan and Elizabeth never married and he hadn’t established his father’s rights in court yet. So the officer who called Logan said he had to return Gabriel to Elizabeth. It was the last day he saw his son. 

The next day Logan filed for full custody. Logan’s petition for custody of Gabriel included the following passage:
“She has said several times in the past that she doesn’t want the baby. She’s yelled and screamed at him when I would go to work. When I would go to work, I would put the baby in his room and when I would get home five hours later, he would still be in the room with no changed diaper and crying and I would ask her what she was doing and she would just yell at me and say go shut that thing up.”

But the judge told Logan to “stop being mean to Elizabeth.” He thought the couple could work it out. He refused to give Logan full custody. Instead he ordered a shared custody agreement. Logan was scheduled to pick up Gabriel on December 20th and have his little boy for his first Christmas. 

He arrived at the trailer he once shared with Elizabeth to bring Gabriel back to his home. The place was empty. There was no sign of Elizabeth. No sign of Gabriel. 

The Disappearance:
Logan continuously tried to reach Elizabeth. He went to court to file the complaint for his parental time being denied, but the court date wasn’t scheduled until December 28th. Logan and his family began digging--trying to find his son. 

Two days before Logan was scheduled to have Gabriel, Elizabeth left Arizona in her grandfather’s 1995 Oldsmobile Delta 88. She told her grandfather she was “going to take care of business.” But no one knew where or exactly what that business was. 

Logan uncovered a Scottsdale couple Elizabeth had been speaking to. 6 months before Elizabeth disappeared with Gabriel, she had taken a trip to Boston with Gabriel to “get away from Logan.” On her return to Arizona she met Tammi Smith. According to the Arizona Republic Tammi said Elizabeth looked exhausted and she could tell Elizabeth “didn’t want the baby.” 

According to Tammi, she approached Elizabeth and asked if she was looking for someone to adopt the baby. She said she was, but the father wouldn’t sign away his rights. The two still exchanged contact information. 

Between December 9th and December 18th, Tammi said Elizabeth left Gabriel with her. She said Elizabeth had given her temporary “custody” and signed over power of attorney. But Elizabeth’s plan to give up Gabriel was ruined when Logan filed for custody. 

Through Tammi, Logan discovered Elizabeth was in Texas and her new phone number.  

On December 27th, he received a text message which sent this custody dispute into a very different direction. The text message was from Elizabeth's new number and said she had killed Gabriel. 

The Investigation:
San Antonio Police searched landfills in the area, as well as the hotels Elizabeth stayed in--the Quality Inn Fiesta Park and the Home Gate Studios and Suites. 

Police then began looking at Elizabeth’s timeline while she was in Texas. She arrived with Gabriel in San Antonio on December 22nd. She took daily photos of him on her cell phone--the last one was on December 26th. Most of the photos Gabriel looked lethargic and was even holding some sort of medicine bottle--possibly infant’s tylenol. 

On the last day of the photos, Elizabeth hired a babysitter to watch Gabriel while she went to a hair appointment.

Elizabeth's grandfather’s car was discovered in a parking lot for a Motel 6 near Interstate 35 and Texas 422. An empty car seat was still inside the vehicle. 

The location of the car was close to a local Greyhound station. Authorities discovered Elizabeth had boarded a bus to Florida. But on the 27th there wasn’t much they could do. Logan and Elizabeth still hadn’t gone to court.

The next day, Elizabeth didn’t show up to the scheduled hearing. The judge finally awarded Logan full custody.  A warrant was put out for Elizabeth’s arrest on custodial interference charges. 

The FBI was called in to help search for Elizabeth and Gabriel.  On December 30th, Elizabeth was arrested in Miami, Florida. Gabriel wasn’t with her. 

Investigators asked her where Gabriel was. Her story changed from her phone call and text message to Logan three days prior. Elizabeth said she only told Logan she killed Gabriel to get back at him. In fact, she’d actually given him to a couple in San Antonio.

According to adoption experts in the area, underground adoptions were incredibly common in the area. And one of the hotels Elizabeth stayed in was often used for the mother’s. 

According to Elizabeth’s two different stories--she met a random couple at a park or she had an arranged meeting at 10 AM on the 27th with a couple at a park. The park was never actually named. There are several in the area. 

But there was one piece of evidence when Elizabeth was arrested that made Logan and his family think the arranged meeting might be true. At her arrest Elizabeth was wearing a very expensive ring--one she didn’t own before going to Texas. Jewelry was often used in the underground adoption operations to not leave a paper trail. 

Eventually Elizabeth Johnson was found guilty of custodial interference. Before her sentencing the DA offered her a plea deal where she wouldn’t have to serve time if she just told them where Gabriel was. Elizabeth refused. 

In December 2012, Elizabeth was sentenced to just over five years in prison and four years probation. She was credited with the three years she’d spent in jail. Elizabeth was released in July 2014.

ASSIGNMENT:
Currently the family is working with Project Absentis, a non-profit founded by a retired FBI agent that specializes in finding missing persons. The family is hoping to off set some of the organizations cost with a fundraiser. 

Gabriel Johnson would be 12 years old now. The last confirmed sighting of him was in San Antonio on December 26th, 2009 at seven months old. At the time he was 2 feet tall and 20 pounds. Obviously, Gabriel would be much larger now. He has light brown hair and blue eyes. We will be posting the most recent age progression on our website and social media. If you have any information, please contact us.

CODE OF CONDUCT: 

1. Do not name names publicly. Send everything to the police or to this page and we will forward to the police. 
2. Do not post side by side photos.
3. Do not contact any family members. 
4. Do not doxx each other and be civil. We all want the same thing. 

As tips come in, Jensen and Holes will work to verify them. If they look good, we will publish them here to try and get us closer to their names.

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