Mother of missing ‘Baby Gabriel’ legally changes identity as case continues receiving attention
TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- It’s a true crime case that’s gripped the Valley for more than 12 years — ‘Baby Gabriel’ went missing from Tempe just after Christmas in 2009. His mother, Elizabeth Johnson, first claimed she killed the baby, then said she gave him away to a couple at a park. He’s never been seen again, and this is still an open investigation, but now Elizabeth has taken new steps in court to try to make the story go away by changing her identity.
There’s still a chance Gabriel is alive, living with another family, and just doesn’t know his true identity. He’d now be 13 years old.
What bothers Gabriel’s family is that while they pour their hearts, time, and money into doing everything they can to find him, Elizabeth has given no answers to where he is, had another baby, and now is assuming a new identity.
It was the phone call that changed the scope of this case. Elizabeth Johnson called her ex Logan McQueary in December of 2009, claiming she killed their baby Gabriel in Texas before changing her story, then telling him she gave Gabriel away to a couple at a Texas park. She served five years in prison for custodial interference, but police never found Gabriel or enough evidence to charge her with murder.
Fast forward to 2021, Elizabeth had a baby girl. In 2022, now a new identity. “I feel like she’s probably trying to hide from us. She’s probably…there are a lot of people who watch her or try to watch her and see what she’s up to,” said Sandy Peters. Peters is Gabriel’s great aunt, serving as a grandmother in his short life with their family.
Elizabeth, who had already changed her last name to Martinez years prior, was granted a legal name change this year to “Naomi Aragon” after citing “stalker and harassment” as a reason for seeking the change. It comes as the ‘Baby Gabriel’ case gains more and more publicity on podcasts, newscasts, and a soon-to-be docuseries.
A focus of all of them — Elizabeth still will not say where Gabriel is. “If this ends up on Hulu or Netflix or Paramount+ or whatever streaming is out there, it’s got such a bigger exposure than anything we’ve been able to do so far,” said Peters.
It’s getting more law enforcement exposure too. The case is now being investigated by Project Absentis, a nonprofit made up of former FBI agents, detectives, and intelligence officials. The official on Gabriel’s case is a former FBI special agent for 26 years.
With new tips being funneled through new expert eyes, Peters and her family hope they’ll solve this case. But in the meantime, it’s not easy knowing Elizabeth has started a new family and now has a completely new identity that distances herself from this case and Gabriel even more. “It’s frustrating to know that she does have this beautiful little girl, that she’s getting to be ‘Mommy’ to, and yet Logan isn’t getting a chance to be ‘Daddy’ to Gabriel,” Peters said.
Arizona’s Family spoke to the former FBI agent from Project Absentis Tuesday. He told us they have several leads on this case and have been conducting interviews with people in the past few weeks, now working to corroborate what they learned. They hope to have some new developments for everyone soon.
Copyright 2022 KTVK/KPHO. All rights reserved.