Woman who wanted Baby Gabriel considered adopting child's mother, too

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by Catherine Holland

azfamily.com

Posted on December 8, 2010 at 7:44 AM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 8 at 8:32 AM

PHOENIX -- The Scottsdale woman charged in connection with the disappearance of Gabriel Johnson reportedly considered adopting the baby's mom in order to get custody of him.

Tammi Smith, 38, wanted to adopt Gabriel, the Tempe baby who has been missing for nearly a year.

As a way to do that, Smith allegedly was willing to adopt Gabriel's 24-year-old mother, Elizabeth Johnson.

There are also allegations by the state that Smith and Johnson discussed using child-support payments to get Gabriel's father, Logan McQueary, to give up his parental rights.

According to the defense, those conversations -- if they took place -- were legal.

Gabriel disappeared just after last Christmas. He was just 8 months old the last time he was seen alive. That was on Dec. 26 in San Antonio. Investigators have no idea if the child is still alive.

At one point, Johnson told McQueary that she had killed the baby. She later changed her story and said she gave him to a random couple in San Antonio. Johnson has since maintained that she knows nothing about the people to whom she allegedly gave her baby.

Johnson has pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping, child abuse, and custodial interference in Gabriel's disappearance. She is set to go on trial May 9 in Judge Paul McMurdie's courtroom. The Superior Court says the trial is likely to last three weeks.

Smith has pleaded not guilty to charges of felony forgery and conspiracy to commit custodial interference.

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