The child known as Baby Gabriel has been a haunting picture in the news much longer than he was ever a happy, crawling smiling little boy.
Gabriel Johnson was 8 months old when his mother, Elizabeth Johnson, broke joint custody rules and whisked him away to Texas almost three years ago.
Johnson, the last person police believe saw Gabriel alive, sits in jail, just days away from trial for his kidnapping.
On Wednesday, attorneys began the difficult task of finding jurors who know nothing about this high-profile case.
That is no easy task, given the amount of publicity the case has generated since Gabriel disappeared in December 2009.
His whereabouts remain a mystery. Tammi Smith was sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years of supervised probation for forgery and conspiracy for trying to rig the legal system to adopt Gabriel, and she said she has no idea where the boy is.
Statements from Elizabeth Johnson to the boy's father, Logan McQueary, cloud the hope Gabriel is alive.
Johnson: "You made me do this."
McQueary: "You did not hurt Gabriel."
Johnson: "Yes, I did. I suffocated him. (Unintelligible) I suffocated him and he turned blue. I put him in a diaper bag and put him in a trash can."
Johnson changed her story when she was captured by police and told investigators she simply gave Gabriel away to a couple in a Texas park.
But frantic searches by McQueary and law enforcement officials from multiple states turned up nothing.
And Johnson stopped talking.
"It's been so long, my presumption will be that she is not saying anything because it is to her benefit," said legal analyst Vladimir Gagic.
Gagic said Johnson could decide to take the stand, but there is no way to predict if she will.
Gagic said picking a jury is complicated because few in the Valley can claim they never saw a Baby Gabriel headline or newscast, or been involved in the rampant social media exposure.
"You will have jurors, and this is something that you just cannot avoid - who just so badly want to be on this trial or on this case or be part of the process, maybe they want to write a book or they are gonna be on TV later down the road - who do know something about the case but are going to say that they don't," Gagic said.
Because Gabriel's body has never been found, Johnson is not charged with murder.
But if found guilty of kidnapping, she faces a minimum of 10 years and as many as 24 years behind bars.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5(Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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