UNDATED (GANNETT) -- Since he first disappeared in December 2009, Baby Gabriel's story has played out on tabloid TV and social media around the world.
Thursday, his mother, Elizabeth Johnson, 26, goes on trial in Maricopa County Superior Court, charged with kidnapping and custodial interference. If convicted, she could be sentenced to as many as 24 years in prison. A charge of child abuse has been dismissed.
Even though the child is presumed dead, the boy's father recorded a telephone call in which Johnson said she suffocated the 8-month-old, put him in a diaper bag and dumped him into a trash can, Johnson has not been charged with murder. She later told police that she gave the child to a couple in a San Antonio park.
Johnson has refused to cooperate with her attorneys; at least three legal defense teams have withdrawn from her case.