A lot has happened since I last posted anything on the Baby Gabriel case. A lot and not very much. Back in late December, Logan McQueary and Elizabeth Johnson were embroiled in a custody battle over their son Gabriel who was then nine months old. Johnson took the child to San Antonio, where he disappeared. She then went on to Florida where she was arrested, returned to Arizona and charged with a variety of criminal offenses including kidnapping and custody interference. McQueary had been given temporary custody by the judge in the custody case and Johnson had texted him that she had killed the baby. Now he’s been given full custody of his missing son. Read about it here (Arizona Republic, 3/26/10).
Since then, police in San Antonio made a very belated effort to search a landfill for the baby’s body, but found nothing. Few people still believe that Johnson was telling the truth about killing the child.
Also, Tammi Smith, a friend of Johnson, has also been indicted on lesser offenses stemming from her assistance in depriving McQueary of custody.
Nationally reputed private investigator and serial spotlight grabber Jay J. Armes spent a few weeks investigating the case until he was asked to leave by McQueary’s attorney. The current PI says he doubts that Gabriel was adopted by parents “under the table,” but rather thinks that the boy is with someone who has promised to keep him secret.
Johnson remains in jail. She once refused to attend court in her criminal case. The judge instructed bailiffs to bring her to the next hearing by any means necessary. She’s attended subsequent hearings including the one in which McQueary was granted custody. She took the stand, but refused to answer questions citing her 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. McQueary’s attorney has asked the judge to hold Johnson in contempt of court for interfering with McQueary’s custody by removing the child. That hearing is set for April.
Meanwhile, forensic psychologist Dr. Erin Nelson viewed a videotape of the custody hearing and said here that Johnson is not particularly concerned about her son and that she puts her own interests before his (KPHO, 3/26/10). That, of course is entirely in keeping with her behavior to date. Prior to taking Gabriel to Texas, she’d told McQueary that she didn’t want the baby and didn’t want McQueary to have him either. In short, her kidnapping of the boy served her interests alone.
Second, Nelson said that Johnson’s refusal to divulge the child’s whereabouts,
could be a way for Johnson to retain control over the situation.
“For certain people, just that level of control can be intoxicating,” she said. “To have people all over the world hanging on your word, that’s a pretty powerful place to be and that could a feeling she’s not ready to relinquish.”
That too fits her other actions regarding Gabriel and his father – control. And, as I’ve pointed out before, it’s a recurring theme in custody matters. Some mothers will tolerate nothing less than complete control when it comes to their children. Maternal gatekeeping is the obvious expression of that, as is kidnapping, visitation interference, and even murder. And certainly that’s true of Elizabeth Johnson. She decided she didn’t want Gabriel and what she’s done after that decision has indicated in no uncertain terms that her way was the only way. She continues that behavior to this very minute and seems willing to go to prison for the privilege.