PHOENIX - The mother of an Arizona boy missing since December 2009 has been declared competent for trial.
Elizabeth Johnson, who was in court Wednesday morning, is charged with child abuse, kidnapping, and custodial interference in the case of her missing 8-month-old son Gabriel.
During Wednesday's competency hearing, Judge Paul McMurdie said he received a report that Johnson has been restored to competency.
The 25-year-old is also getting new representation, after her attorneys withdrew from the case.
"We have an issue with trust and she doesn't trust anyone to work with them and so we need to be a team and so we can't be a team given her current state of mental health," said Marci Kratter, an attorney on Johnson's legal team.
Kratter thinks leaving may delay the case further but does not believe it will change the outcome.
I don't hold out much hope because I think that there's a pervasive mental health problem there that is going to prohibit her from working well with anyone else," said Kratter.
According to Maricopa County Superior Court officials, Johnson will be represented by a public defender.
On November 9, the judge received a letter that could also have been a factor in his decision, but the contents of the letter were sealed.
Her next court date is set for December 15.
Johnson has been jailed without bond since January 2010.
Investigators said Johnson initially said she killed Gabriel and threw him in the trash. She later changed her story and said she gave him to a random couple she met at a park in Texas.
Gabriel was 8 months old when he went missing. Authorities don't know whether the boy is alive.
Logan McQueary, Gabriel's father, has said he thinks Johnson's behavior is all an act but Kratter disagrees.
"Nobody wants to just believe that this is a sick girl. I think people want justice. They want to be vindicated and they look at Casey Anthony and they don't want to see another mother walk away," said Kratter.
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