No trial date set in Baby Gabriel case

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PHOENIX -- The mother of an Arizona baby missing since December and his would-be adoptive mother were both supposed to appear in a Phoenix courtroom Monday morning for their respective pretrial conferences, but things did not play out as anticipated.

The expected face-to-face meeting between Elizabeth Johnson and Tammi Smith -- the first in about a year -- never happened because Smith had her court appearance waived.

Johnson has pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping, child abuse, and custodial interference in the disappearance of her son Gabriel, who was 8 months old when he was last seen in December in San Antonio.

Smith, a north Scottsdale woman who wanted to adopt Gabriel, has pleaded not guilty to charges of felony forgery and conspiracy to commit custodial interference.

It was expected that a judge would set a trial date today. That, however, has been delayed by at least a month. The prosecution objected to the motion Smith's attorney filed, but the judge granted it. According to the judge, the motion was filed because Smith might be getting another lawyer.

Police said while they do not believe Smith had anything to do with Gabriel's disappearance, she  did hamper their investigation and search for him.

Gabriel has not been seen since Dec. 26. At one point, Johnson told Gabriel's father, Logan 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.

After being incompetent to stand trial back in June, a judge ruled earlier this month that Johnson is able to understand the charges against and assist in her own defense in the wake of court-ordered psychiatric treatment.

McQueary was in court this morning. He said there are no new developments in the search for his son. At this point, police have no idea if Gabriel Johnson is alive.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Paul McMurdie said Monday that he'll decide the trial date during a hearing on Oct. 25.