San Antonio police revealed Friday that, after a month of sifting through tons of trash at the Tessman Landfill, they are no closer to finding missing Baby Gabriel Johnson than they were when they began. Although the search had to be suspended several times and actually got off to a late start (due to rains and safety considerations), San Antonio police went through over 7620 tons of garbage in their efforts to find a trace of the missing Arizona child. But Baby Gabriel Johnson was not in the among the discarded refuse.
“This case leaves us with somewhat of a bittersweet conclusion,” San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said, according to CNN. “The good news is we have no homicide. The bad news is the case is still open.”
And with that, McManus announced that the landfill search had been concluded, noting that: “We found no evidence of a homicide.”
The homicide reference stems from a text message sent from Baby Gabriel Johnson’s mother, Elizabeth Johnson, to his father, Logan McQueary. Johnson, who had been in San Antonio for nearly a week, texted McQueary on December 27, telling him that she was headed for Mexico and, as soon as she was safe, she would call and tell him where he could find his son’s body. She texted she killed the baby and placed his body in the trash.
When she was arrested in Florida two days later (she had boarded a bus in San Antonio on Dec. 27) for custodial interference, Johnson recanted her story that she had killed Baby Gabriel. But the baby was no longer with her. She claimed that she had told McQueary the lie just to hurt him, but that Baby Gabriel had been given to a couple in a San Antonio park.
Later investigation proved that San Antonio was the last place anyone had seen the missing child. Two lines of investigation were then opened: One to investigate whether or not a homicide had been committed (which led to the landfill search in San Antonio), and a second to investigate Baby Gabriel’s case as that of a missing person. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Johnson was extradited back to Arizona, where her cross-country journey had begun.
Not finding the child’s remains in the Texas landfill does not necessarily mean that Johnson was not telling the truth when she texted Logan McQueary at the end of December. It simply could mean that she disposed of the child’s body somewhere else.
However, the fact that San Antonio Police did not find traces of the child also lends some credence to Elizabeth Johnson’s alternative story that she gave Baby Gabriel to a San Antonio couple. Police are investigating whether or not she may have actually sold the child through an underground adoption ring rather than simply giving him away to strangers.