FBI questions Texas group in missing kid case - East Valley Tribune: News

FBI questions Texas group in missing kid case

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Posted: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 4:59 pm | Updated: 1:20 pm, Thu May 17, 2012.

The nationwide search for a missing 8-month-old Tempe boy has led FBI agents to question employees of a San Antonio organization that oversees the licensing of colon-cleansing practitioners.

The nationwide search for a missing 8-month-old Tempe boy has led FBI agents to question employees of a San Antonio organization that oversees the licensing of colon-cleansing practitioners.

The International Association of Colon Hydrotherapists certified Tammi Smith of Scottsdale, who was named a person of interest in the search for Gabriel Johnson.

The boy’s mother, 23-year-old Elizabeth Johnson, was last seen with Gabriel on Dec. 26 at a motel about a block away from the organization’s offices.

“It’s a long shot, but we’re questioning people there to see if there is a connection,” said Kim Hale, commander of investigations for the Tempe Police Department. “Our focus continues to be in San Antonio where the child was last seen.”

Smith owns Healing Waters in Sun City West and in Glendale, according to her company’s Web site. Her husband, Jack Smith, also was named a person of interest in the case. The couple had said they were interested in adopting Gabriel from his mother and father, Logan McQueary. Police have said the Smiths are withholding information that could lead them to the baby boy.

Johnson was arrested at a youth hostel in Miami Beach, Fla., on Dec. 30 and was extradited to Arizona late Saturday on suspicion of custodial interference, kidnapping and child abuse. She is being held in the Maricopa County Estrella Jail on a $1.1 million cash bond and has been uncooperative with authorities since her arrest, Hale said.

Hale said Wednesday that investigators are trying to determine whether Johnson, 23, gave the child away in San Antonio as she told the FBI, or killed the baby. Johnson told McQueary, her estranged boyfriend, by phone and text message on Dec. 27 that she killed the baby and put his body in a dumpster in a diaper bag, according to a Maricopa County Superior Court document.

However, police have said they believe the baby is still alive.

When Johnson was arrested, she had about $500 cash on her, according to police.

Hale said there was a certain amount of planning that Johnson did before she left Arizona with the baby on Dec. 18, and investigators believe she had some kind of help.

“We know originally, she sold a couple of dogs, she had a roommate that gave her about $400, and she had some social services assistance,” Hale said. “When you start adding up all that, we estimated she had about $1,200 when she left. By the time you start calculating the drive, gas, motel stays and shopping in Miami, and her having about $500 cash on her at the time of her arrest, the numbers don’t add up. Somewhere along the way, she came into some extra funds.”

The International Association of Colon Hydrotherapists claims it is the only organization that certifies colon hydrotherapists and has about 2,500 members throughout the United States and in other countries, the association’s spokeswoman said.

The Smiths took a polygraph administered by Tempe police on Friday, and the results came back as inconclusive, according to police.

Jack Smith told the Tribune on Wednesday that Tammi visited Johnson in jail, and he was not sure whether Tammi had ever been in San Antonio “in her life.”

San Antonio police opened a missing persons investigation into Gabriel on Thursday, and a $5,000 reward now is being offered for the safe return of Gabriel through Crime Stoppers in San Antonio. If anyone has any information about Gabriel’s whereabouts, they can call (210) 224-7867.

Tips can also be submitted online at www.sacrimestoppers.com, or by text-messaging “Tip 127 plus your tip” to CRIMES (274637).

Hale said Wednesday that investigators also have a GPS tracking device that was recovered from the 1995 white Delta 88 Oldsmobile she abandoned in San Antonio on Dec. 27 before boarding a bus to Miami.

If anyone knows of Gabriel Johnson’s whereabouts, you also can call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678.

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