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Smiths Take Polygraphs in Missing Baby Gabriel Case
Aired January 8, 2010 - 20:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JEAN CASAREZ, GUEST HOST: We begin tonight with breaking news in the mystery of a missing 8-month-old Arizona baby boy, Gabriel, baby Gabriel vanishing somewhere betide (ph) Arizona, Texas and Florida after his 23- year-old mother leaves home and takes him on a 978-mile road trip. Along the way, Mommy calls the biological father, threatening he would never again see the baby, even says the baby is dead. The whole time, the mother was trying to give baby Gabriel away to an Arizona couple. Surveillance video shows Mommy boarding a bus for Florida without baby Gabriel, her car found abandoned at a San Antonio Motel 6, baby clothes and a highchair left behind inside Mommy`s hotel room.
Major developments tonight. In the last hours, the Arizona couple named persons of interest in Gabriel`s disappearance -- they have asked for and they have now taken polygraphs. Tonight, Jack and Tammi Smith -- they are with us live. And tips lead investigators straight to Tennessee. Is there a Nashville connection in the disappearance of 8-month-old baby Gabriel?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAMMI PETERS SMITH, HOPED TO ADOPT GABRIEL: It`s not that I know where he is, but like I told your staff, we`ve all been talking for the past couple days, trying to brainstorm where he is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is being called a bombshell in the search for baby Gabriel. Arizona police say the couple who wanted to adopt Gabriel Johnson are now persons of interest in his disappearance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jack and Tammi Smith now named persons of interest. Now, they would not say why Jack and Tammi Smith are persons of interest, but it`s believed to be that they have information about where baby Gabriel is.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Still, the Smiths say they`re glad to be called persons of interest by police.
JACK SMITH, HOPED TO ADOPT GABRIEL: I`m happy if that elevates us to a point where they`re going to come and talk to us because if we haven`t been a person of interest up to this point, I think it`s time we be and come and examine everything. We`ve -- we`ve asked the detectives, Do a polygraph test. Please. I did that on -- we did that on New Year`s Eve day. I said, Please come and do it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do not feel that they are providing us all the information that they have about Gabriel and his location and condition.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: If that baby is alive tonight, he`s crying for that Mommy. She`s like a cat. She gives birth and then just walks away.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s playing games, obviously doesn`t want the father to have any contact with his child.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s prepared to stick to her story and stay in jail as long as is necessary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CASAREZ: Good evening. I`m Jean Casarez of the legal network In Session, in for Nancy Grace tonight. Thank you so much for joining us. Major developments in the mystery of missing 8-month-old baby Gabriel. The Arizona couple named persons of interest in the baby`s disappearance -- they voluntarily have taken polygraphs, as tips, though, lead investigators straight to Nashville, Tennessee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Arizona police are pleading for the safe return of a little baby, 8-month-old Gabriel Johnson. He was last seen in San Antonio last month with his mother, 23-year-old Elizabeth Johnson.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know where Gabriel is?
JACK SMITH: No, we do not know where Gabriel is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Arizona police say the couple who wanted to adopt Gabriel Johnson are now persons of interest in his disappearance.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you hiding the baby somewhere?
TAMMI SMITH: No, but I do have some new information that I would like to give. I don`t know if I want to give it to you all before I give it to the detectives, but I`ve tried very, very hard all day to get in touch with them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since Gabriel`s been missing, what do those adoptive -- potential adopted parents say to you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They basically have asked me to sign the paperwork, too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you feel like you were being extorted when they were saying that to you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A little bit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have some good indications, at this point, with our investigation that Tammi and Jack Smith do know more information than they have provided to us that could possibly lead us to Gabriel.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know where Gabriel is?
JACK SMITH: We`ve been truthful. And you can check every story. We`ve done a million of them, give or take a couple. Nothing`s changed. Nothing`s going to change because if you don`t tell a lie, you don`t have nothing to hide.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CASAREZ: And we are taking your calls live tonight. Let`s go straight out to Mike Sakal. He is a reporter in Phoenix, Arizona, standing by live, with "The East Valley Tribune." Mike, what`s the latest tonight?
MIKE SAKAL, "EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE" (via telephone): The latest I have heard is that Tempe police did question Tammi and Jack Smith regarding the alleged information they believe they are withholding. Police did tell me -- they did not confirm a polygraph test, but they did say that they questioned the couple.
CASAREZ: So you are saying that police will not confirm that the couple took polygraphs?
SAKAL: Correct. They said they questioned the couple.
CASAREZ: They said that -- well, let`s go to the couple. We have got Jack Smith and Tammi Smith. They have just joined us, coming from a long, long day. To Jack and Tammi Smith, did you take polygraphs today with police in Tempe, Arizona?
TAMMI SMITH: Yes. We did.
JACK SMITH: We sure did.
CASAREZ: Talk to us about that. Did they call you? Did you call them? When did you go? How did it all happen today?
TAMMI SMITH: Yesterday, I called Detective Ramirez (ph) at least five or six times and left about four messages with her. She finally called me back at 10:30 last night, and I was very angry and told her, That`s it, I`m tired of this. Set up the polygraph, like I asked you last week, and I want it done tomorrow. And she said, What time? I said 12:00 o`clock. So we were there.
CASAREZ: So you went there. Talk to us -- what questions did they ask you? And how long did it take?
TAMMI SMITH: Probably about an hour-and-a-half for each of us, because they have to go through and make sure that they`re covering, you know, their bases and covering themselves before we actually get to take the test. And you know, they take each of us individually and explain everything and sign all kinds of paperwork and stuff.
CASAREZ: To Jack Smith. What were some of the questions they asked?
JACK SMITH: The obvious questions, do we know the whereabouts? Do we -- did we have anything to do with it? Those are the -- I will say the polygraph test is not what you see on TV. It`s a very strenuous -- it`s almost like being strapped into an electric chair. So it`s very intensive. Yes. And we were happy to do it.
CASAREZ: What did they say to you at the conclusion of your polygraph?
TAMMI SMITH: Well, they -- I`m, like, Well, come on, let`s bring it out. The media`s out -- the media was out there, oh, my gosh, for quite a while. We were hoping that we would get the results to be able to tell people today, but it won`t be today. They have to send it out because they have to actually analyze each question and answer and all that stuff to be able to give a determination of what -- what it came out to be. So...
CASAREZ: Now, you have been named persons of interest. We told that -- Nancy told that to everybody last night. Did the police talk to you about that today? Did you ask them about it or did they talk to you?
JACK SMITH: Well, we actually asked about that last night when we got home because it was -- our question to them was, If we`re cooperating, if we`re doing everything we`ve (SIC) asked you to do, why do you have to take this forum and this stage to try and -- if there`s questions that we need answered, why did it take you a week and a day to do a polygraph that we asked you to do on New Year`s Eve day? You know, Why didn`t -- why don`t you do this, and it would be very easy -- forgive me -- it would be very easy if it was said -- if they asked the question, Did you have anything to do with this? And it proves us to not (INAUDIBLE)
CASAREZ: And what was the response? When you asked that, what was the response?
JACK SMITH: I can tell you, and it was -- it was very odd to me because the detective said to me, You know, a person of interest is not really that big of a deal. They called her, asked if there were some questions that she needed asked. And she said, yes, there`s some questions we need to ask. She`s out of town. There are some questions we need to ask, and so therefore, they upgraded us to the persons of interest, which - - you know, John Q. Public look at that and say, you know, that must be pointing a finger. It is not. It`s not that. And I think anybody will confirm that -- that -- it`s just a level up from -- and making sure that we are.
CASAREZ: To Mark Smith, polygraph expert, former detective out of New York. Hearing all of this right now -- first of all, when somebody completes a polygraph, are they normally told one way or the other or given any indication of how the results were?
MARK SMITH, POLYGRAPH EXPERT: Sometimes they are, Jean. In this case, the charts are probably being sent out for quality control, which is not unusual.
CASAREZ: What do you think about the police not confirming that a polygraph was even given to this couple today?
MARK SMITH: Well, in light of the fact that the media was outside, it`s kind of silly. It shouldn`t be a secret that they`re giving the polygraph test. And I agree with Mr. Smith, it should have been done a week ago.
CASAREZ: You know, the whole issue here is, where is baby Gabriel? That`s why we are here. That is what we are talking about. That`s really what we care about.
To Jack and Tammi Smith. Have you had any communication at all today with Elizabeth Johnson?
TAMMI SMITH: No.
CASAREZ: Have you heard anything of where this baby could be tonight?
TAMMI SMITH: Well, I -- since I did get to talk to the detectives and give them the information that Yami from Fox News -- I`ve become really good friends with Yami with Fox News in San Antonio, and she is our digger. She searches and searches for information. And so I was able to give them the information that she gave me. Finally, I was able to give that to them because it`s very hard to get in touch with anybody over there.
CASAREZ: And what is that information?
TAMMI SMITH: I can give you some of the information, but some I cannot. One piece of information is when Elizabeth left, she had a Garmin, which is a navigation system, hooked up in her car and turned on. And when we met up, this was a place where she told us to meet her so there was no reason to have it turned on.
And from what Yami says, her cell phone was -- had a signal in Victoria, Texas, and that was the day that she went missing. And that was the day that she actually got on the bus. So if she had to drive two hours south from San Antonio, why did she drive two hours south down to Victoria, and then drive back up to San Antonio, and then get on a bus to go to Miami? That leads us to believe that that baby is in Victoria.
CASAREZ: And what day was the cell phone significance from Victoria, Texas? What day was that?
TAMMI SMITH: Sunday the 27th. And that was the day that she would not communicate with me by verbal. She only communicated by texting and telling me that she was out of range because she was driving.
CASAREZ: To Matt Zarrell, NANCY GRACE producer. When we look at December 27th, tell me if I`m wrong, isn`t that the day she left on the bus to go to Florida?
MATT ZARRELL, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: Yes. And not only that, Jean, that`s also the day that she sent the text message to the bio dad saying she killed the baby.
CASAREZ: And isn`t -- couldn`t the bus have made a stop in Victoria, Texas, on the way to Florida?
ZARRELL: It`s probably not likely. It wasn`t on the way. But we don`t know how Victoria plays a role in this yet, Jean.
CASAREZ: Well, I lived in Texas, and Victoria could have been, I think, a stop toward Florida.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you still want the baby if you can still have Gabriel? Is that still your goal?
TAMMI SMITH: It`s not -- it couldn`t happen. You know, his father`s got custody. His father wants the baby.
JACK SMITH: And that`s where he belongs.
TAMMI SMITH: And you know, and that`s where he belongs. That`s his father.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In several states, police are looking for an 8- month-old infant last seen the day after Christmas.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This started back around December 8th. He and - - he and his girlfriend, Elizabeth, got into a fight. They separated. And that`s really where the custody issue began.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not really. It`s just always been up and down with her. I don`t know really what makes her tick and makes her go off.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that`s when he filed original documents in the superior court on December 11th, filing for custody. December 17th, they were granted joint custody.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What was that like to find out that she left with the baby?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Scared.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An arrangement was set up, and then she did not come through with her part of the agreement. That`s why the December 28th court date was scheduled.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) custody issues (INAUDIBLE) happen in the past leading up to this (INAUDIBLE) out of the blue?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve always had -- you know, kind of bickered and fighting a little bit, arguing here, arguing there. But we lived together the whole time, lived together for the past two years. And you know, this was just kind of out of the blue.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When she did not show up on December 28th for that court hearing, he was granted sole physical custody of the child, and then the felony warrant was issued for her arrest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CASAREZ: I`m Jean Casarez of the legal network In Session, in for Nancy Grace tonight. We`re taking your calls live. Let`s go straight out to Lana in Indiana. Hi, Lana.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. What I was wondering, last night I watched Nancy, and Nancy asked the Smiths a question at the very end of the show, asking did they know where the baby was. And while Mr. Smith was talking, his wife nudged him twice, as if to -- you know, like she was afraid he was going to tell something. And I just wondered why she would do that on tape, you know? And it just looked likes it was something like guilty or something.
CASAREZ: Let`s -- to Jack and Tammi Smith. You know, a lot of people came to me today, so I have to ask it. And I saw it myself, last night. When you were talking, we did see sometimes your hand go over toward your husband`s leg and seemed to touch it and -- what was that? Did that mean anything?
TAMMI SMITH: Yes. Natisha is the girl -- the -- she`s the one from your show that tells us what -- how quickly we can answer a question. And her problem with Jack is that Jack rambles and goes on and on and on and on. And so that`s me saying, OK, OK, wrap it up, because they really warned us about that. We need to make our answer very short and precise.
CASAREZ: OK. I`ve got to ask you about a FaceBook entry. I want to show everybody that this is a FaceBook industry, and it is from a Tammi Peters Smith, which would be you...
TAMMI SMITH: Me.
CASAREZ: ... and it is from December 23rd, 2009. And it says in part, quote, "Please keep praying for Gabriel and his Mommy`s safety on the road. She found an underground help in Texas that has given her formula, diapers, et cetera, and all the legal formalities. Keep praying for his safety."
Did you write that, Tammi?
TAMMI SMITH: Yes, I wrote that.
CASAREZ: What do you mean by it?
TAMMI SMITH: OK. What I meant by that is -- OK, I was being -- I don`t want to -- I don`t want to -- I don`t want to talk bad about Logan, OK? But I was somewhat threatened by Logan, and I wanted to make sure he understood because we talked back and forth -- wanted to make sure he understood that -- and in the beginning of that, you`ll see that we`re going to -- you know, we`re going to do our, you know, classes to be foster parents and all that.
So I wanted to make sure he knew that we are not interested in his son anymore. And secondly, before Elizabeth went missing, she let us know that she was going to a domestic violence shelter that was going to take care of her, the baby, and everything that they needed. And so I wanted to make sure that he knew that we`re out of it. We don`t want any part of her or the baby or you. And that was my way because the last time me and Logan spoke, he hung up on me, and I couldn`t tell him that. So that was me publicly letting him know. And I think anybody would want to pray for them, too, on the road.
CASAREZ: But you said she found an underground, "underground help."
TAMMI SMITH: Right.
CASAREZ: That denotes something illegal, something not aboveboard.
TAMMI SMITH: OK. Well, she had mentioned to me the word "underground," and she mentioned that -- at first, she mentioned that it was a domestic violence shelter. And she had used the word "underground" maybe once in the conversation. And instead of saying "domestic violence," I didn`t want that to make Logan think that I was trying to say he was violent towards her...
CASAREZ: So you`re -- you`re saying that...
TAMMI SMITH: ... because as far as I know, he was not.
CASAREZ: ... she told you she found a domestic violence shelter in San Antonio?
TAMMI SMITH: She didn`t say it was in San Antonio, but yes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She thinks that what she`s doing is keeping her baby safe. It`s crazy, but that`s what she`s doing.
GRACE: Take a look at where she speaks. This lady does not have a mental problem. She`s absolutely coherent. She sees what`s going on around her. She is answering his questions quickly and concisely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the baby is alive, what she did is one of the cruelest and most manipulative moves that one could imagine, telling him that his child is dead. If the baby`s alive, she needs to come forth and let the authorities know where the baby is so that they can put this case to rest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CASAREZ: I`m Jean Casarez of the legal network In Session, in for Nancy Grace tonight. Well, Jack Smith and Tammi Smith say that they have taken polygraphs today at the police department in Tempe, Arizona. Also, tips are coming in from Nashville, Tennessee, spotting baby Gabriel, possibly. We`re going to talk about that in a second.
But I want to go back to Tammi Smith. Right before the commercial break, you told us that Elizabeth had told you, and referred to it as an "underground help" at least once -- that she had gone to. When did she tell you this?
TAMMI SMITH: She told me, I believe it was the day before that Sunday that she had found a domestic violence -- she didn`t tell me a name. She just said that that was her plan to go there and they would take care of everything because that was our last plea to come back. I had a friend in Nashville that works with attorneys call her and plea to her to come back here to Arizona to court on Monday. I had my attorney call her and plea to her to come back here and go to court on that Monday, so -- yes.
CASAREZ: So you say that she said to you the Saturday before the Sunday -- so you`re saying -- the Sunday of the 27th, she left...
TAMMI SMITH: Right.
CASAREZ: ... San Antonio. So she was in San Antonio when she told you she had found an underground domestic violence shelter, a place to go?
TAMMI SMITH: Right. And my guess is, I believe when she got to Miami, I believe that`s kind of the place that she went to, some kind of teen hostel place, and maybe that`s what she was talking about. And maybe she was partially telling me the truth, but it wasn`t really going to be her and Gabriel, it was going to be her.
CASAREZ: All right, let`s go to Pam in New York. Caller Pam, good evening.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you for taking my call.
CASAREZ: Of course. Your question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question is, is there going to be any more charges going to be faced with the mother at all?
CASAREZ: Well, let`s go out to the lawyers because that is a legal issue. We know that she is being held in Florida, facing extradition. She`s waived extradition to go back to Arizona.
Randy Kessler, defense attorney out of Atlanta, Tamara Holder, defense attorney out of Chicago, let`s talk to you both. Randy Kessler, first of all, more charges in this case?
RANDY KESSLER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, right now, she`s charged with interference with custody, which is obvious, it sounds like it. There will be other charges. I`ll tell you, if she came to hire me and said, I might be accused of murder, I`d say, You`ve got one bad fact. You know, things not to say when you might be accused of murder include telling the father of the child, I killed the child. So certainly, if they find the child dead, she will be the prime suspect.
CASAREZ: To Tamara Holder. Nancy Grace made a plea last night to law enforcement that no charges be filed and have this baby found. Your thoughts?
TAMARA HOLDER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think that that -- that makes sense. Give us the baby, and we will not charge you. That`s what they need. They need to negotiate the return, the safe return of this child.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAMMI PETERS SMITH, PLANNED TO ADOPT BABY GABRIEL: There would be nothing that they can charge us with because we have done nothing. We`ve done everything that the police have asked us.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Arizona police say a couple who wanted to adopt Gabriel Johnson are now persons of interest in his disappearance. Jack and Tammi Smith admit they met Gabriel`s mother but say they don`t know where Gabriel is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We some good indications at this point with our investigation that Tammi and Jack Smith do know more information that they have provided to us that could possibly lead us to Gabriel.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tell me why you believe that baby is alive. What do you know that makes you believe the baby is alive, Mr. Smith?
JACK SMITH, PLANNED TO ADOPT BABY GABRIEL: You know, it`s just a heart thing. And I -- I`m sorry that that`s probably not the answer that everybody`s wanting to hear.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Elizabeth Johnson who allegedly first claims she killed her child now said she gave him away in San Antonio.
J. SMITH: She said she met a couple in the park.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course, if that were to be true the x factor is, was that family from San Antonio? Were they even from Texas or were they from another state? We don`t know.
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER, AUTHOR OF "KILLING FOR SPORT": I just can`t believe that she went down there and just miraculously found two people in the park to dump the bay on.
BOB JOHNSON, GABRIEL`S GREAT GRANDFATHER: It`s almost to the border of unbelievable that a person would do that with an 8-month-old child.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything she`s said has been completely unreliable.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She has been barely cooperating.
T. SMITH: She didn`t want Logan to have the baby and we couldn`t adopt the baby because Logan wouldn`t sign the papers. So her idea was to just keep running forever.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you believe your son is still alive at this point?
LOGAN JOHNSON, FATHER OF GABRIEL JOHNSON: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Why?
JOHNSON: Just a feeling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JEAN CASAREZ, GUEST HOST: I`m Jean Casarez of the legal network "In Session" in for Nancy Grace tonight.
Tammi and Jack Smith, they are with us live tonight. As you know, they have been named persons of interest in this case, but today they went to the police department and they say they took a polygraph. That was in Arizona.
Meanwhile, in Nashville, Tennessee, there are a lot of tips coming in of possible sightings of baby Gabriel.
Let us go to Matt Zarrell, NANCY GRACE producer. What`s the latest out of Nashville, Tennessee?
MATT ZARRELL, NANCY GRACE STAFFER, COVERING STORY: Well, police have reportedly gotten a flurry of tips from Nashville. Now we don`t know in what capacity, whether Gabriel was seen alone or with the mother. But we do know the reports are that the mother had no prior connection to Nashville. However, Tammi Smith and Jack Smith used to live there before.
CASAREZ: Now what is your -- to Jack and Tammi Smith, what is your connection with Nashville?
J. SMITH: Well, I was in the music business for about 35 years. So I lived in Nashville for about that long. And then Tammi moved there and we met about 12 years ago and we`ve been together pretty much for the last 10.
CASAREZ: So what was the last time you were in Nashville?
J. SMITH: Last time I was in Nashville was probably about a year and a half ago? Two years ago maybe?
CASAREZ: Do you talk to a lot of people in Nashville?
J. SMITH: My family. My brother`s there. My two sons are there. Yes, after 35 years you do have friends there. Certainly.
CASAREZ: So what do you think about all these tips coming from a place that you used to live in?
J. SMITH: I have no earthly idea. No earthly idea. Nashville`s a beautiful town.
CASAREZ: When Elizabeth Johnson has contacted you via text or phone calls, has it been on your cell phones or your home phone?
J. SMITH: We don`t have a home phone. We have cell phones. And all those logs have been given voluntarily to the detectives.
CASAREZ: That`s what I wanted to ask you. So have you given the cell phones, themselves, to law enforcement?
T. SMITH: No, they just photocopied all the texts and the phone logs and all that stuff. They just made copies of basically the card or whatever, you know?
CASAREZ: Had they told you anything about that GPS that you say was on Elizabeth Johnson`s car? If it was the type that would have capability of showing exactly where she rode, if it was on, or if it wasn`t on?
T. SMITH: No, I just told Detective Ramirez about it last night, and I told the other detectives about it today. Because I just -- after talking to Yani yesterday afternoon I was in a rush to get here and didn`t know the directions and I was like, oh my gosh, my GPS is dead.
And then I turned and said, oh my god, she had a GPS in her car. And so it goes from there.
CASAREZ: To Marc Klaas, president and founder of KlaasKids Foundation. So good to see you tonight. You know, what you profess, Marc -- every time I hear you on this show and otherwise, you profess exactly what this couple is doing. Having polygraphs taken. Going to the police. Giving them the cell phone records.
Anything the police want it seems like this couple is giving, but they were the persons of interest in this case. Your thoughts, Marc Klaas.
MARC KLAAS, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER, KLAASKIDS FOUNDATION: Well, I mean, you know, there are inconsistencies that are even showing this evening, Jean. On the posting on Facebook it`s dated the 23rd of December, yet she told you just a few minutes ago that the first time the word "underground" was mentioned was on the 26th of December.
I don`t see how that works. She said, I don`t want to trash Logan, and then she spent two minutes trashing Logan. She said in that same posting, we don`t want to be part of -- we don`t want to be in the middle of this.
Well, it`s two weeks later. They`re not only in the middle of it but they keep coming up with new information that they seem to have forgotten to tell this person, that person, or the other person, and they`re begging to be polygraphed by law enforcement.
I don`t understand why the Smiths are still involved in this story. If they have nothing to do with anything, they should have been able to simply tell the authorities what they know and extricate themselves from it and we possibly wouldn`t be going through what we`re going through what we`re going through this evening.
CASAREZ: To criminal profiler Pat Brown, your thoughts on all of this?
BROWN: Well, I don`t know that I entirely agree with Marc on this. I think it is very good that they went forward and asked for the polygraphs and they should have been done a lot earlier.
Yes, they`re in the middle of it but they`ve been in the middle of this whole mess for a long time. Are they just kinds of people who like to help out and are kind of gullible and get themselves into things? I don`t know.
But let`s take a look at Elizabeth. Now she lies a lot. Now look at this underground domestic shelter she`s supposedly going to. My guess is the reason she would call it underground is because it doesn`t exist. And she doesn`t want to say there`s a real place that she`s going to, but she`s pretending she`s got something she`s going to.
She doesn`t want to be identified any place. She also -- when they asked her the questions in the jailhouse interview, how do you know your baby`s safe? They asked her that two times. And during that two times they asked her, she stopped and couldn`t say anything for a very long time, because probably that baby wasn`t safe and she knew it.
The only thing I intend to believe is what she told her boyfriend, that she took care of that baby, herself. And I wonder if that baby is not out somewhere near Victoria but not alive.
CASAREZ: To Jack Smith and Tammi Smith, you know, I have to ask you this. Why do you come on television? We appreciate hearing from you, hearing what you know. What motivates you to come on television instead of just working with police or just staying home and waiting for the phone to ring, trying to contact Elizabeth?
J. SMITH: That certainly would be the line of least resistance, I can tell you. But we held him for eight days. Anybody that knows us knows that we don`t give our love away easy. We gave it away to this baby and we`re still loving this baby by trying to do everything humanly possible. And I stand accountable to that every single day.
CASAREZ: To Patricia Saunders, clinical psychologist. What are your thoughts about the couple? They are with us tonight, Tammi and Jack Smith, that knew this baby but yet have inconsistencies. They are persons of interest. From a psychological standpoint.
PATRICIA SAUNDERS, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, there are a lot of contradictions in their stories and now I think they`re trying to be do- gooders and make right by this, because a lot of other facts have emerged.
But, you know, Jean, my concern, like Pat Brown`s, is about Elizabeth. Bob Johnson, her grandfather, reported that she was struggling with post- partum depression. And one report indicated that she had gone off her medications.
But there are only about 200 child homicides by mothers every year. About 1/3 of those are committed by mommies who have post-partum depression or post-partum psychosis. So I think the baby is very much at risk.
CASAREZ: And that is the concern. The baby. This is an 8-month-old baby that drove 900 and some odd miles from Arizona to San Antonio.
Let`s go out to a caller. Carolyn in West Virginia, thanks for hanging on. Hi, Carolyn.
CAROLYN, CALLER FROM WEST VIRGINIA: Hi, my question is partially about Elizabeth and out to the Smiths. They keep attacking Logan, the biological father. What, exactly -- why is she so afraid that the baby, Gabriel, go to Logan? What did he do that was so wrong?
CASAREZ: Well, let`s ask Jack Smith and Tammi Smith. Why do you attack Logan? You know, I read a lot of legal documents today of affirmations that he made under oath about the inappropriateness of Elizabeth Johnson as a mother. The neglect that she allegedly showed the children.
Why wouldn`t you want this father that appeared in all respects to love his child to get his child?
J. SMITH: Well, again, you`ve got to understand that in the very beginning we felt that the facts were what was most important. We weren`t there the day before to see if Gabriel was happened to be in a diaper that was -- all we saw that was she went to every parenting class, that she went to -- his shot record was completely up to date.
So you know, if you take everything in that little segment, she could be considered a good mother.
CASAREZ: All right. Before we go to break tonight, we want to wish a very happy 100th birthday to Maine friend of the show, Grace Day. She never misses a show and she loves to crochet and bake.
Her biggest joy? Her three children, six grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren. She`s beautiful in her red jumper.
Happy, happy birthday, Grace, from the NANCY GRACE show.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: After Gabriel`s disappearance, Gabriel`s father received adoption notice from an Arizona couple who wanted to raise the child. He refused to sign the papers.
JOHNSON: Basically didn`t want me to have him and wanted to put him up for adoption. Better life, that`s what she kept saying.
T. SMITH: When we first got to talk to Elizabeth she told me, you tell Logan he`s going to sign those papers and five days later I`ll bring the baby back and I`ll sign the papers. Otherwise I`m not bringing him back.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Police say little Gabriel Johnson was sighted with his mother on December 26th in San Antonio. The next day Gabriel`s mother Elizabeth Johnson sent Gabriel`s father a text message saying she killed the baby.
JOHNSON: I was scared when she first said it. And I went over to the police station.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Police say Johnson has previously made threats to harm her son and just recently lost custodial rights to the child.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Police are now saying they have indications Gabriel may still be alive. Gabriel`s father says after Gabriel`s disappearance he received adoption notice from a couple who allegedly tried to convince him to give Gabriel up.
JOHNSON: They want me to sign the paperwork. When Gabriel disappeared they said basically, you know, if you really care about your son and you want him back and you want him to bring her back -- or Elizabeth to bring him back that you`ll sign the paperwork and then she`ll bring him back to us and you`ll know he`s safe.
And I said, no, I`m not signing paperwork.
J. SMITH: We have no papers to sign.
T. SMITH: We don`t even have papers.
J. SMITH: There are no papers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CASAREZ: I`m Jean Casarez of the legal network "In Session" in for Nancy Grace tonight.
I want to tell everybody, just to remind you. There is a criminal complaint out of the state of Arizona, and this is what Elizabeth Johnson is being held on in Florida. The charge is custodial interference.
Well, as part of that complaint there is a summary. Now this is not rumor, innuendo. This is on the criminal complaint and it says that the last-known whereabouts of Elizabeth Johnson was from her cell phone pings in Victoria, Texas, headed toward the Mexican border.
Now we do know she ended up in Florida. She is incarcerated in Florida. But I`ve got to go out to Tammi Smith on that.
Talk to us again about your thoughts about Victoria, Texas. There`s not a date on this. And when do you say her cell phone pinged in Victoria?
T. SMITH: They said it was on the 27th. And that was the day that she sent the text that he was dead and that was the day that she wouldn`t speak to me verbally.
CASAREZ: OK. That`s the day that she did leave on the bus from San Antonio to Florida?
T. SMITH: Yes.
CASAREZ: So you`re saying she had to go to Victoria and come all the way back to San Antonio?
T. SMITH: Correct. She went two hours south and then came back up to get on a bus.
CASAREZ: All right. Carolyn in West Virginia, thanks for waiting. What`s your question? Luann in Pennsylvania, are you there?
LUANN, CALLER IN PENNSYLVANIA: Yes, I am.
CASAREZ: What`s your question?
LUANN: I have a question for the Smiths.
LUANN: It was obvious when they met Elizabeth in the airport according to her demeanor that she was depressed. And post-partum depression, everybody knows about that.
Why in God`s name, Jack Smith the other night said he was going to offer to pay for an attorney for her to regain custody of this baby. Why, if you love this child, would you want her to regain custody knowing the demeanor that she expressed at the airport? And -- it just amazes me.
CASAREZ: Good question. Jack Smith, your response to that?
J. SMITH: Well, again, understanding that if it is true what they`re saying, she was off her medication, which we didn`t know anything about medication, but.
T. SMITH: It was seven months prior.
J. SMITH: And that was seven months prior when we did meet her.
T. SMITH: When I met her at the airport.
J. SMITH: At the airport. So, again, due process will take care of that. We were doing everything humanly possible to pull her back here. We were trying to get her and Gabriel back here and if we were saying to her that we`ll help you with this or help you with that, it was to get them back here and let due process.
We can`t -- we couldn`t have gotten her if she hadn`t have been able to get custody of him. We couldn`t have had anything to do with that.
CASAREZ: But have you read the legal papers? Have you read the papers where the birth father, as the petitioner, asking for custody based on what he said was continual neglect, not wanting to be in the same room, not wanting to play with little Gabriel?
J. SMITH: But again.
T. SMITH: No, we didn`t.
J. SMITH: No, we didn`t. But is that -- we want the facts. What are the facts? The facts are she went to -- she had every shot record, she had every -- that don`t sound like someone that is -- maybe at that point she was on her medication. But I can`t answer that question.
T. SMITH: The whole point here is we were dangling a carrot to get her and that baby back here. And that`s what we wanted to do. So dangle that carrot. I mean wouldn`t you do that today if she called you asking for help?
CASAREZ: Have you tried to contact her at all at the jail? Have you tried -- are you going to fly down there? Any thoughts for you to go down there to talk with her?
T. SMITH: Oh, no. We set up that interview just so that we could see if maybe she`ll tell us something. We have the interview completely recorded by a news station here in Arizona.
CASAREZ: And this was an interview, you went to her grandfather`s home?
T. SMITH: Yes, yes.
CASAREZ: And you called the jail and then she talked to her grandfather and it was recorded?
T. SMITH: The jail called to his house. Because we don`t have a landline phone. We just have cell phones.
CASAREZ: Are you concerned about the baby?
J. SMITH: Well, of course.
T. SMITH: Yes.
J. SMITH: Of course, we are.
T. SMITH: I mean, I really believe in my heart he`s alive and he`s with a family like she`s saying. I just don`t believe that it happened like she`s saying. There`s a lot of other things that I`ve -- we`ve been talking about all day that leads us to believe that she knew exactly where she was going before she left.
CASAREZ: Where do you think the baby is? Do you think the baby is in San Antonio?
T. SMITH: No, I think he`s in Victoria or somewhere around there. And the news stations, I don`t believe, have started running this story in Victoria and really, really need to run this.
CASAREZ: All right. Very quickly, Kathy in Missouri. Your question.
KATHY, CALLER FROM MISSOURI: My question is, is that this little baby`s face has been plastered all over the news 24/7. I`m sure every state. So she had e-mailed or texted her boyfriend saying that she had killed.
CASAREZ: And we are going to keep putting that picture up, Kathy, because this is a missing person. This baby boy has got to be found.
And now, tonight`s "CNN Heroes."
WYNONA WARD, PROTECTING THE POWERLESS: When I was growing up to a rural back road, family violence was an accepted way of life.
This is my mother and I am the baby here, and my father and my brother, Richard, and my sister, Pauline.
My father would commonly abuse all of us. He raped me and beat my mother and my other siblings. When the neighbors heard screaming coming from our home, they just turned their heads.
For domestic violence victims in rural areas, it can be very devastating. They`re out there on these back roads with no access to in- town services. Many of them do not have telephones. Some of them do not have driver`s license or an automobile, so we go to them.
My name is Wynona Ward. The turning point for me is when a child in my family revealed that she had been abused by my father and my brother. I just said, this has to stop.
When I graduated from law school, I was 48 years old.
Good morning, my dear.
I go to peoples` homes, give them in-home consultations, provide them with free legal services and transportation to and from court hearings.
I don`t want children to have to go through what I did as a child. I want to see my clients become empowered. I can understand them and they know that I will be there to protect them.
CASAREZ: And now a look back at the stories making the headlines this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Authorities of three states are desperately searching for a missing 8-month-old boy who was last seen with his mother who is now under arrest and police say is refusing to cooperate.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Officers say Elizabeth Johnson took her son Gabriel from their own in Tempe, Arizona December 18th and went to San Antonio where they stayed until December 27th.
Johnson was arrested in Miami Beach on New Year`s Eve, but the baby wasn`t with her.
GRACE: I`m just hearing it in my ear right now, Matt. I`m hearing that the car has been found, according to the FBI, in San Antonio, Texas. What else can you tell me, Ellie? About 7:00 p.m. Texas time at a local Motel 6, San Antonio, Texas, they are processing the vehicle right now.
UNIDENTIFIED 911 OPERATOR: Tell me exactly what happened.
BROOKE MUELLER, CHARLIE SHEEN`S WIFE: My husband had me with a knife and I`m scared for my life and he threatened me.
GRACE: Have you taken a look at Charlie Sheen`s resume? I`m not talking about him being a star, I`m talking allegations that he has a knife to this woman`s throat, straddling her on a bed. Not letting her go to where she called 911. Fearful for her life. Him in the other room with a knife.
Why? What judge in his right mind would let this guy walk with this history?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: There`s a bombshell that was dropped tonight that Jack and Tammi Smith now named persons of interest.
GRACE: This is extremely unusual to those viewers that are joining us tonight. They have been named persons of interest by the police. Yet they are coming forward and speaking with us. I`m completely stunned that you`ve been named persons of interest on the other hand, that doesn`t mean the cops think you took baby Gabriel.
I`m interpreting it to mean that they believe you know where baby Gabriel may be. What about it, Tammi Smith?
T. SMITH: It`s not that I know where he is, but like I told your staff, we`ve all been talking for the past couple of days trying to brainstorm where he is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CASAREZ: Tonight, let us stop to remember Army Private First Class Katie Soenksen. She`s just 19 years old from Davenport, Iowa, killed in Iraq. Inspired to enlist by her godfather and aunt who also served in the military.
She was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. She had a zest for life. She loved bowling and softball and spending time with friends. She leaves behind her parents, Ronald and Marianne, her brother, Matthew, sister Sara and widower Benjamin, who also served in the Army.
Katie Soenksen, an American hero.
Thank you so much to all of our guests and to you at home for being with us tonight. See you tomorrow night at 8:00 sharp Eastern. Until then, good night, everybody.