The jury selection in the “Baby Gabriel” trial began on Wednesday, CNN reports. The mother of the 8-months-old who disappeared almost three years ago is charged with child abuse, custodial interference and kidnapping. But is she a murderer?
On December 17, 2009, a judge awarded joint custody of baby Gabriel to parents Elizabeth Johnson and Logan McQueary.
The baby was last seen alive in December 2009, while at a motel in Texas with his mother. It was the place from which Gabriel’s father received several messages from Elizabeth, claiming that she had killed the baby. “I killed him”, the text message received on December 27 by Logan McQueary said. “U will never see Gabriel again, I made sure of that. And you can spend the rest of ur pathetic life wondering about him.”
Another text said Elizabeth was preparing to leave the country and “When im safe ill email u the exact location of dead Gabriels little blue body. If the garbage don’t come first.”
Later, a phone conversation between McQueary and Johnson, recorded by him, showed a mother determined to convince him that the baby was not alive anymore and she was responsible for it: “You did not hurt Gabriel,” McQuery said. “Yes, I did. I suffocated him. …. I suffocated him and he turned blue. And I put him in his diaper bag and I put him in the trash can.”
On December 30, 2009 Johnson was arrested and charged with custodial interference, child abuse and kidnapping. She denied having killed the child and said she had given him for adoption to a woman named Tammi Smith. When contacted, smith admitted to knowing Johnson and proposing to adopt Gabriel, but the process never took place. Earlier this year, Smith was found guilty of forgery and conspiracy to interfere with the baby’s custody. She admitted that she has helped Johnson care for the child for nine days and she had falsely written the name on her cousin on some paternity documents, instead of McQueary’s.