New details emerged about Baby Gabriel's parents, Logan McQueary and Elizabeth Johnson, when the trial of Tammi Smith, the woman who wanted to adopt Gabriel, began on Tuesday. Smith is charged with forgery and conspiracy to commit custodial interference with Johnson, The Arizona Republic reports.
While prosecutors painted a picture of Smith as scheming, desperate, and obssessed with adopting Gabriel, Smith's attorneys depicted her as a kindhearted mother and business owner. According to testimony by McQueary, Smith and her husband tried to lure McQueary into signing adoption papers.
McQueary further testified that Smith had told him at one point that if McQueary signed the adoption papers, Gabriel would be returned to Arizona.
McQueary last saw Gabriel on Dec. 8, 2009 when he dropped the boy off at Johnson's home. Two days after Johnson fled the state with Gabriel, McQueary filed and received full custody of the boy. He later changed it to joint custody, however, after he and Johnson made up over the phone.
He testified that he and Johnson had fought frequently since they began dating in 2007. McQueary was Gabriel's primary caregiver, as Johnson didn't want to care for the boy, he stated. He also testified that on Dec. 27, 2009, Johnson texted and called McQueary, saying, "I killed him. You made me do it." The audio and texts will be presented to the jury.
Under Arizona law, a person commits custodial interference if she "takes, entices or keeps from lawful custody any child ... who is entrusted by authority of law to the custody of another person or institution." Smith may be convicted of the conspiracy to commit custodial interference charge if it's found that she helped or planned to help Johnson keep Gabriel out of McQueary's custody.
Elizabeth Johnson is currently being held without bond on charges of kidnapping, child abuse, custodial interference, and conspiracy to commit custodial interference for her part in the disappearance of Gabriel. Her trial is set to begin in September. Logan McQueary will be cross-examined on Wednesday as Tammi Smith's trial continues.
- Find a Phoenix Family Law Attorney (FindLaw)
- Testimony Reveals Tumultuous Life of Baby Gabriel's Parents (AZfamily.com)
- Custodial Interference and Parental Alienation in AZ (FindLaw's KnowledgeBase)
- Incriminating Statements Can't be Heard in Baby Gabriel Trial (FindLaw's Phoenix Family Law Blog)