Key figure in Baby Gabriel case due in court

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by Catherine Holland

azfamily.com

Posted on August 16, 2010 at 11:25 AM

Updated Monday, Aug 16 at 11:29 AM

PHOENIX -- One of the key figures in the case of Gabriel Johnson, the Tempe baby who has not been seen since the day after Christmas, was due in Superior Court for a hearing Monday.

Tammi Smith is the woman who claimed she was in the process of adopting Gabriel before he disappeared.

Tempe police said Smith was not forthcoming with information during their investigation. Detectives also said Smith provided false information on paternity documents, listing her cousin as Gabriel's father. Smith was charged with custodial interference, conspiracy to commit to custodial interference and forgery. She pleaded not guilty to those charges back in February.

Gabriel, who was 8 months old when he vanished, has not been seen since Dec. 26, when his mother, Elizabeth Johnson, took him and left the state during a custody battle.

Johnson first told the baby's father, Logan McQueary, that she killed the child. She later changed her story, saying she gave the baby to a couple in San Antonio, Texas. She claims that she does not know their names.

While the baby's body has not been found, San Antonio police made the procedural move of declaring the case a homicide and kidnapping. Officers in San Antonio spent quite some time searching a landfill for any sign of the baby. The landfill handles the garbage of the San Antonio hotel where Gabriel was last seen with Johnson.

Last week, Johnson, who has refused to cooperate with police, was found competent to stand trial.

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