Baby Gabriel Update: Mom Told Dad She Killed Their Son

We’ve been following the Logan McQueary/ Elizabeth Johnson/Baby Gabriel case since early this year.  Here’s the latest (KPHO, 12/15/10). 

Last December, Logan McQueary had challenged his girlfriend Elizabeth Johnson for custody of their son Gabriel.  The two were unmarried and Johnson was determined to thwart McQueary’s efforts. 

She and her friend Tammi Smith did a number of things to try to keep McQueary out of the life of his infant son, including filing false documents in court stating that the child might have been fathered by another man.  Smith had always wanted to adopt Gabriel, so McQueary’s bid for custody stood in her way as well as Johnson’s.

So last December, Johnson fled Arizona where all of them lived and travelled to Texas with nine-month-old Gabriel.  She ended up in San Antonio where she took photos of Gabriel in a motel room.  That was the last anyone has seen of the child. 

On December 28th of last year, McQueary received an order of sole custody from an Arizona court.  But Johnson sent him a text message saying she’d killed Gabriel, stuffed his body in a garbage bag and placed him in a dumpster.  Belated searches of area landfills by the San Antonio police turned up nothing.

Johnson was eventually arrested in Florida on kidnapping and custody violation charges.  She’s since recanted claims that she murdered the child claiming that she gave him to an unknown and unidentified couple in a park in San Antonio.  Extensive searches by public officials and private investigators have failed to find any trace of Gabriel.

I’m on record as believing that Gabriel is alive, having been placed with parents in an off-the-record adoption.  Now I’m not so sure.

The linked-to article discloses a telephone conversation between Johnson and McQueary in which she repeatedly claims to have killed Gabriel and explains why.

“Where are you and where is Gabriel?” asks McQueary.

“Gabriel is in a Dumpster,” Johnson responds.

“No, he’s not,” said McQueary.

“You want to talk to girls, that’s the price you pay,” said Johnson.

At the time of the call, McQueary and Johnson had recently broken up. They shared joint custody of their son, Gabriel.

“I killed him this morning,” claimed Johnson.

“No, you didn’t,” said McQueary.

Johnson responded with, “I couldn’t do it anymore, I couldn’t do it alone. You made it impossible for me to have my own life. You made it impossible for me to have Gabriel. You were going to take the only thing I had left. You wanted to take from me. You wanted to make me miserable. So find some new girl to make your new baby.”

In the call, McQueary tried to learn exactly where Johnson was so he could lead investigators to her.

She told him she destroyed all of her identification and even called herself a ghost.

McQueary wanted to know his son was OK, but he didn’t want to agitate Johnson anymore than she already was.

“Don’t you care about me? All you care about is Gabriel. And he’s gone now. You know what I’m capable of and you pushed me anyway. You destroyed my life,” said Johnson.

“I haven’t destroyed anything,” said McQueary.

“Yes, you have, Logan. You made me kill my baby boy,” said Johnson.

And later,

“You made me do this,” Johnson tells McQueary.

“You did not hurt Gabriel,” said McQueary.

“Yes, I did. I suffocated him. I suffocated him and he turned blue. I put him in a diaper bag and put him in a trash can,” said Johnson.

It’s not easy to get a murder conviction without a body, but it’s been done.  Johnson’s statements to McQueary likely are admissible in court against her to prove she murdered the boy.  Whether Arizona law requires more than the admission of the accused to bring a charge of murder, I don’t know.  Of course, in addition to her admission, Baby Gabriel hasn’t been seen for almost a year.

But if it can be done, I expect prosecutors, armed with this new evidence, to do it.  And if Elizabeth Johnson is charged with murder and Gabriel is still alive, you can bet we’ll find out where he is in a heartbeat.

Stay tuned.

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