Was Elizabeth Johnson assisted by an underground group?
In the search for Gabriel Johnson, I saw the interview with Tammi and Jack Smith of Scottsdale, AZ on the Today Show this morning. One of the problems I have with their interview is that if they are trying to cover up the location of Gabriel Johnson or any knowledge they have, then in my experience with underground cases they would drop clues or hints to try and steer law enforcement and the public away from the truth. There were hints dropped this morning of an alleged underground or battered woman’s shelter involved.
However, with all that said, if Elizabeth Johnson did use the assistance of an underground or “protective parent” group or a domestic violence shelter, then it might be very difficult to get these groups to relay information to law enforcement, even with reward money. The intention of most family violence shelters is good, but if you interviewed most advocates in these groups, they would tell you that they had the number to those extremist protective parent or underground supporters – or those individuals that would help Elizabeth Johnson. And in our experience, there are few individuals that would come forward to turn in the location of Gabriel Johnson, even if they knew it or a person that most likely does. By law in most states, domestic violence shelters, most that receive federal money are required to cooperate with the local district attorney on any alleged battered mother’s living in their shelters. However, in our experience, there are a number of women living in out of state shelters and in those cases, I doubt these shelters would notify the out-of-state courts.
So if Elizabeth Johnson arrived in San Antonio, Texas or Nashville, Tennessee and went to a domestic violence shelter, than it is unlikely these shelters would notify the police in Arizona. And even with reward money offered or with the recent press coverage in this case, I’m not certain any shelter worker or mother staying at one of these shelters would disclose any information to law enforcement. For whatever reason, these shelters and underground groups have always been able to protect against the disclosure of this information.
We’ve been following these underground cases over the last two decades and there are certainly links to protective parent groups in both Arizona and Texas. If I were law enforcement, I would talk to the Directors of the Domestic Violence Shelters in all cities where Elizabeth Johnson may have been. These Directors should be told that they will be prosecuted for aiding and abetting in kidnapping if it is later discovered they assisted Elizabeth Johnson. Police should also try and interview other mothers that may have been staying in these shelters at the time Elizabeth Johnson may have been in that city.
Finally, in this era of TV celebrities like Octomom, Jon and Kate and the Balloon Boy Family — I am really hoping that a protective parent group didn’t find Elizabeth Johnson to champion their cause. I hope this is really not the case and in the end Gabriel is safely returned to his father and the underground or protective parent groups had nothing to do with this case!