Sheriff announces arrest in Columbia teen's disappearance

Fifteen-year-old Gabbiee Swainson has been missing since Aug. 18. (Source: WIS)
Fifteen-year-old Gabbiee Swainson has been missing since Aug. 18. (Source: WIS)
Freddie Grant (Source: Lexington County Detention Center)
Freddie Grant (Source: Lexington County Detention Center)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott has announced an arrest in the disappearance of Gabrielle Swainson, but the teenager still hasn't been found.

The 15-year-old vanished without a trace from her Northeast Columbia home on August 18 during a 3-4 hour period when her mother, Elvia, was at work.

Lott said 52-year-old Freddie Grant is in custody charged with kidnapping. Grant is an acquaintance of Gabbie's mother. He has done yard work for the family

He was arrested on Sunday after investigators found ammunition in his home. Grant is a convicted felon and possessing ammunition is against the law.

According to Lott, investigators believe he took Gabbie from the Tamara Way house to his home in Elgin that morning, but they still do not know where the teenager is.

"She was kidnapped," said Lott. "She was forcibly taken from that home."

The sheriff said Gabbie's blood was found on duct tape in Grant's home. He said her DNA was also discovered on several items on the premises.

Investigators have been able to track the girl's cell phone from her home to the Elgin area. The phone has not been found.

Lott said it is unclear how Grant knew that Gabbiee would be alone that Saturday morning. Grant has been uncooperative with investigators.

Over 120 deputies and FBI agents are searching for Gabbiee in a junkyard directly across the street from Grant's home.

The Elgin Police Department and the Kershaw County Sheriff's Department are also assisting in the search.

The sheriff said investigators haven't given up hope that Gabbie is alive. ""I haven't given up hope finding her and bringing her home," said Lott.

If you know anything about Gabbiee's disappearance, you are urged to call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

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