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| Crime |

Baby Gabriel Mom Pleads Not Guilty in Disappearance; Are Murder Charges on the Horizon?

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Elizabeth Johnson, the mother of the missing eight-month old baby, Gabriel Johnson, appeared before a Maricopa County Superior Court judge this morning, via-video feed from the Maricopa County Jail and pleaded not guilty to charges relating to the child's disappearance.

Johnson pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping, child abuse and custodial interference stemming from the December disappearance of the baby.

After not appearing at a December custody hearing, Johnson disappeared with the baby and went to San Antonio, Texas, where Gabriel was last seen alive.

While on the run, Johnson sent text messages to the baby's father, Logan McQueary saying she had killed the baby and put his body in a dumpster.

She later recanted her claims and said she gave the baby to a random couple she met at a park in San Antonio.

Initially, Tempe police were optimistic that the baby was still alive but have since changed their tune as tips in the case slowed.

Over the weekend, police in San Antonio -- as well as officers from the Tempe Police Department -- searched dumpsters and landfills in Bexar County, Texas, looking for the baby's body. The search turned up nothing.

So, could Johnson get hit with a murder charge if the baby's body is never recovered? Yes, but it would be difficult.

Over the weekend, police in San Antonio -- as well as officers from the Tempe Police Department -- searched dumpsters and landfills in Bexar County, Texas, looking for the baby's body. The search turned up nothing.

So, could Johnson get hit with a murder charge if the baby's body is never recovered? Yes, but it would be difficult.

Over the weekend, the Arizona Republic outlined three cases in Arizona where a body was never discovered and only one resulted in a murder conviction. What the Repub failed to point out is that a murder charge -- if there ever is one -- would likely be filed in Texas -- not Arizona -- where murder charges being filed without a body may be a bit more likely.   

Tempe police would not comment on any potential murder charges in Texas but referred us to the San Antonio Police Department, where the investigation is being conducted. They haven't gotten back to us yet but we'll let you know as soon as they do.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Tempe Police Department or the FBI. 

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