Mother of 'Baby Gabriel' found guilty of imprisonment, custodial interference
Gabriel Johnson was 8-months-old when he was last spotted alive.
October 18th, 2012
06:58 PM ET

Mother of 'Baby Gabriel' found guilty of imprisonment, custodial interference

The mother of the infant known as "Baby Gabriel" an 8-month-old Arizona boy who disappeared in 2009 after authorities say she took him in a custody dispute was found guilty Thursday of unlawful imprisonment and custodial interference.

Elizabeth Johnson of Arizona had told authorities she gave her son, Gabriel Johnson, to an unknown couple she met up with in Texas, at the direction of an acquaintance who authorities say initially wanted to adopt the child.

Gabriel Johnson was last spotted alive at a Texas motel in late 2009. It's not clear what happened to him.

A jury will now decide whether there were aggravating circumstances before a judge decides on a sentence.

Elizabeth Johnson fled with Gabriel to Texas in late 2009 in defiance of a ruling giving the boy's father joint custody, authorities said. On December 27, 2009, she sent the boy's father a series of spiteful text messages saying she killed the boy.

Arrested in Florida on December 30, 2009, she later recanted those statements and told police that she'd given the boy to a unknown couple in San Antonio, at the direction of Tammi Smith, an Arizona woman she'd met earlier in 2009.

Investigators alleged that Smith indeed helped Elizabeth Johnson wrangle custody of Gabriel away from his father, with the initial intent of adopting the boy herself. Smith admitted at her own trial earlier this year that she helped care for Gabriel for nine days before Johnson allegedly gave the baby to the unknown couple.

Smith was tried and found guilty this year of forgery and conspiracy to interfere with Gabriel's custody a conviction relating not to the boy's disappearance but to her efforts to conspire with Johnson to deny the father's rights to see his son.

Police: Mother kills 2 children, then gets on a bus

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soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Humbug

    Here we go again...Texas and Florida...LOL. Disgusting!

    October 22, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Zannie

      Don't forget AZ

      October 22, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mei

    Such a beautiful baby! Let's pray he is still alive and with people who take loving care of him. This story is so sad because he is still missing.

    October 22, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Cindy

    The couple should have turned this child over to the police, if mom is telling the truth.

    October 23, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Brandy

    I am sorry, I realize the facts don't prove it, but the mere fact that she said she disposed of the baby in such a manner almost proves her guilt... You can't make up details like that and there not be some truth... Kinda like Melinda Duckett "story"... If you're baby truly went "missing" why would you kill yourself, and not hope he would be returned? Or Casey Anthony? Casey...? Lying baby killer... Karma will see you...Where there is intent, there is truth...

    November 5, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. max3333444555

    gave the baby to an "unknown" couple? amazing

    November 9, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  6. Bentley

    I sure hope that beautiful little boy is still alive but I'm thinking he isn't. When is her sentencing? I hope she is looking at
    along time

    November 13, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
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