Police believe missing Tempe baby is alive - East Valley Tribune: News

Police believe missing Tempe baby is alive

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Posted: Thursday, January 7, 2010 4:46 pm | Updated: 1:32 pm, Tue Dec 4, 2012.

Authorities on the hunt for a missing 8-month-old Tempe boy whose mother is in custody and not cooperating with police said they believe the boy is alive.

Watch Tribune reporter Mike Sakal discuss the case on Tuesday's "Nancy Grace" on CNN Headline News.

Authorities on the hunt for a missing 8-month-old Tempe boy whose mother is in custody and not cooperating with police said they believe the boy is alive.

Tempe police also said Thursday they believe a couple who said they were attempting to adopt Gabriel Johnson have information that will lead them to the child. Police have named Tammi and Jack Smith as “persons of interest” in the investigation and believe the Scottsdale couple have information they are withholding from investigators.

The mother, Elizabeth Johnson, claimed last month to Logan Scott McQueary, her boyfriend and the baby’s father, that she killed the child and placed his body in a dumpster in a diaper bag, according to a Maricopa County Superior Court document.

Police also are investigating whether Johnson gave the baby away.

Johnson, 23, was arrested in Miami Beach, Fla., on Dec. 30, and she and the baby were last seen together on Dec. 26 in San Antonio, according to Sgt. Steve Carbajal, a Mesa police spokesman.

Watch Tribune reporter Mike Sakal discuss the case on Tuesday's "Nancy Grace" on CNN Headline News.

Court: Mom says she killed her missing baby

Tempe baby still missing after mom's arrest

But before Johnson was arrested at a youth hostel in Miami Beach, a cell phone signal was tracked to her in Victoria, Texas, three days earlier, according to a court document. Victoria is 115 miles southwest of San Antonio, and the signal was last caught moving toward the Mexico border, according to the document.

“It has given us new info to follow up on,” Carbajal said.

During the course of the investigation, the Smiths came forward, claiming they had been working with Johnson and McQueary for the last seven months about adopting the child. However, McQueary denied he was interested in giving up the boy.

After hearing the couple were named “persons of interest” by police, Tammi Smith told the Tribune that authorities need to call them and ask what information it is they withheld.

“I would say we are definitely interesting because this is not our baby, and we are trying hard to help find the baby,” she said. “I’m glad I’m a person of interest, and maybe they’ll listen to me more.”

On Tuesday, the FBI recovered the 1995 Oldsmobile Delta 88 that Johnson was driving, according to police. The car was parked at a Motel 6 across from a bus station off Interstate 35 in San Antonio.

Johnson lost custody of the boy to McQueary, 25, when she failed to show for a court hearing Dec. 28. She has been charged with custodial interference, a low-level felony, and domestic violence, according to court documents.

McQueary and Johnson lived together in the Rancho Tempe mobile home park at 4605 S. Priest Drive, but they broke up because of domestic issues on Dec. 8, the last time McQueary saw his son, he told police.

McQueary said he remains hopeful that Gabriel will be safely returned and that he was “not really surprised” that police want to get more information from the Smiths.

Johnson is being held without bail in the Dade County Jail and is awaiting extradition to Arizona.

If anyone has any information about the boy’s whereabouts, they can call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at (800) 843-5678.

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