- Associated Press - Thursday, April 14, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - A court official ruled Thursday that an Arizona woman who served time in prison in the disappearance of her child will have to serve 20 days in county jail and wear a GPS-monitoring device for her acknowledged violation of probation.

Maricopa County Superior Court Commissioner Charles Donofrio didn’t follow a recommendation from prosecutors that Elizabeth Joanne Johnson spend 60 days in jail.

But Donofrio scolded her, saying the 29-year-old, like others in her generation, has a problem submitting to authority.

“They don’t want to follow the rules,” Donofrio said.

Johnson acknowledged in court that she traveled from her home in New Mexico to Arizona in July to visit a friend she had met in prison. She choked back tears as she said she made unwise decisions.

“I am working on becoming a better person,” she said.

She has already served 14 days of her 20-day sentence and is scheduled to be released April 21. She will face another four years of probation.

Other accusations of probation violations against Johnson, including that she didn’t tell her probation officer that she got married and had contact with law enforcement, were dropped.

Johnson was incarcerated for four and a half years for convictions in the disappearance of her 8-month-old son Gabriel, who has never been found. She served nearly three years in county jail as she awaited trial and a 19-month prison stint.

Authorities said “Baby Gabriel” was last seen with his mother in December 2009 at a hotel in San Antonio, Texas.

Investigators said Johnson took the child from Tempe, Arizona, to Texas, stayed for a week then took a bus without him to Florida, where she was arrested.

Johnson had been fighting with the boy’s father about whether to give up Gabriel for adoption. She signed over temporary guardianship of the boy to a Scottsdale couple for about 10 days before she picked him up and left Arizona.

Authorities said Johnson initially told the boy’s father that she killed her son and dumped him in a trash bin, but she later recanted and said she gave the infant to a couple at a park in San Antonio, Texas. She never provided the couple’s names.

With no sign of the child, prosecutors were only able to file lesser charges against her.

In court Thursday, prosecutor Angela Andrews read aloud a letter from the boy’s father Logan McQueary in which he said Johnson has no remorse for her actions and that Johnson was going to tell the court what it wants to hear.

“She prances around like nothing happened,” McQueary wrote.

___

This story has been corrected to reflect that Johnson was incarcerated for four and a half years for convictions in her son’s disappearance, including a 19-month prison stint.


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