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Church State Issues

Tempe Police use Psychic in Baby Gabrial Case

Jan 18, 2011

Arizona Republic Article

Baby Gabriel report released by Tempe police

by Nathan Gonzalez - Jan. 18, 2011 08:09 PM

The Arizona Republic

Tempe police sifted through hundreds of leads during the weeks after the disappearance of Baby Gabriel Johnson in December 2009, ranging from the speculation of a "psychic investigator" to tips from people who thought they had spotted the child after watching television news reports.

In one case, investigators located a baby in Casa Grande who looked just like Gabriel - and who police briefly thought might have been the missing child. In another instance, a caller reported seeing a baby's body floating down the Rio Grande River near Albuquerque, N.M. But in those and all the other cases, the tips led nowhere.

On Tuesday, the Tempe Police Department released 230 pages of reports detailing its investigations into the baby's disappearance. The report describes how investigators chased false leads from Texas to Florida in the hope of finding Gabriel, who remains missing.

There was the "psychic investigator," who claimed to have aided police and FBI officials in the past. She informed Tempe police her "channel of information" told her Elizabeth Johnson of Tempe, the child's mother, attempted to sell baby Gabriel for $1 million, but the buyer only offered $500,000. The psychic also said Gabriel, who was last seen in San Antonio, Tex., on Dec. 26, 2009, was being cared for by an elderly woman in a state west of Santa Fe, N.M., "whose first initials are "WA." None of the information could be confirmed.

There was the call from a person who reported seeing a baby similar to Gabriel in a Walmart in Humble, Texas. "The caller stated that they have been watching the Nancy Grace Show on CNN and have 'memorized' Gabriel's face," the report states.

In New Mexico, an anonymous informant reported in January seeing the body of a child floating in the Rio Grande River. An exhaustive search of the river over two days yielded no new information about Gabriel's whereabouts.

On March 6, Tempe police received a call from a Casa Grande police officer, who received a tip that Gabriel was possibly spotted with a couple at the Little Somburros Restaurant. Although the boy resembled Gabriel, the lead ended up being false.

The report offers little new information into the disappearance of Gabriel, who was 8 months old at the time and was at the center of a bitter custody battle between his mother and his father, Logan McQueary.

Johnson was arrested Dec. 30, 2009, in Florida and is awaiting trial on charges of conspiracy to commit custodial interference. Johnson has refused to tell investigators what she did with baby Gabriel, despite messages to McQueary that she allegedly killed the boy, police have said.

Tempe police spokeswoman Molly Enright declined to comment on the reports released Tuesday, noting that the case is still under investigation by San Antonio police.