In the search for Baby Gabriel Johnson, there is one thing that San Antonio investigators will be on the lookout for as they sift through tons of garbage at the Tessman Landfill. When Elizabeth Johnson left her room at the Homegate Inn & Suites, she left behind all of Baby Gabriel’s belongings. Sources told KENS 5 in San Antonio that police recovered everything but a green diaper bag. And it is that one missing item that has investigators believing that Elizabeth Johnson’s text message to her ex-boyfriend, Logan McQueary, was true. It was in that text message that Elizabeth Johnson claimed to have killed Baby Gabriel Johnson and left his body in the trash…
But the landfill search was suspended just a couple days after it began. After waiting a couple weeks for the weather to clear before getting started, San Antonio Police called off the search because of heavy rains. The rain causes toxic run-off from the landfill and is considered unsafe for investigators making their way through tons of trash.
Elizabeth Johnson now sits in a Phoenix jail, uncommunicative and uncooperative about the whereabouts and/or the circumstances of her son’s disappearance. She recanted the text message she sent Logan McQueary on the last day she spent in San Antonio when she was picked up on an arrest warrant in Florida for custodial interference in Arizona.
It was in Tempe, Ariz., where Elizabeth Johnson began her cross-country journey on December 18 in an attempt authorities now believe was to keep Logan McQueary from gaining custody of the child. She stopped in San Antonio from December 21-27. She left San Antonio on a bus to Florida on December 27. Authorities know that Baby Gabriel was with his mother up until December 26 due to some time-stamped photos retrieved from a camera Johnson had with her when she was arrested. However, when Elizabeth Johnson boarded that Tornado bus in San Antonio, she did so under an assumed last name and without her 8-month-old baby.
Her text message to McQueary read: “You will never see Gabriel again. I made sure of that. And you can spend the rest of of your pathetic life wondering about him. You will never find me. I’m already boarding a plane out of the country. When I’m safe, I’ll email you the exact location of dead Gabriel’s little blue body, if the garbage don’t come first. This is what liars like you deserve.”
The FBI and law enforcement agencies in Arizona and Texas had been pursuing the Gabriel Johnson case from the start as two separate cases: as a missing person and a homicide. But San Antonio authorities classified the missing person case a homicide on February 6, according to Phoenix’ KPHO, in order to justify the next step in their investigation, which was to search a local landfill for the remains of the child.
There will be more than 20 people specially trained to help sift through the mountain of refuse at the Tessman landfill. Officials warned that it would be at least a week’s work just to get past the first 50 feet of trash. It is estimated that that is where the specific area the trash from Elizabeth Johnson’s hotel room will have been placed. Authorities were able to get a general location, a section of the landfill which was subsequently roped off, because of a timetable and grid system used by the landfill to dump trash.
And then investigators had to wait for the weather to clear. The search began on Tuesday but inclement weather forced a suspension Thursday. Work resumed after the weather broke but the process remains slow due to dangers of toxic run-off and possible trash slides/avalanches.
It is unknown if officials will have other specific items to search for, but it is likely. Authorities as a rule tend to keep certain bits of information from the public in order to use as a filter for validating credible leads in a case.