'Career criminal' arrested in Gabbiee Swainson missing persons case
Tue, 28 Aug 2012 14:14:59 GMT —
COLUMBIA (WACH) - A "career criminal" has been arrested in the Gabbiee Swainson missing persons case, according to Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott.
Lott says 52-year-old Freddie Grant, who is a convicted felon with an extensive criminal record, was arrested Sunday and charged with kidnapping in the case of 15-year-old Gabrielle Swainson. Grant is accused of forcing Swainson from her home and taking her to his home in Elgin. He is being detained at the Lexington County Detention Center. Grant is being "completely uncooperative in finding Gabrielle."
Lott made the announcement in a news conference Tuesday morning.
According to Lott, Gabbiee's cell phone has been tracked, but has not been found.
Investigators found and are analyzing blood found on duct tape. DNA matching Gabbiee's has been found.
Lott says there was no forced entry into the home. Grant had been cutting the grass at the Swainson home Friday.
Deputies say they have reason to believe Elvia Swainson and Grant had a relationship but do not know the extent of it.
"The mother has been extremely strong," said Lott. "She is a mother and she loves Gabbiee. She surrounded her whole life around Gabbiee...She is very upset right now."
Lott says there are 120 FBI agents, deputies and other law enforcement officers assisting in a search a junkyard across the street Grant's home in Elgin.
Another missing female, Adriana Diana Laster of Homestead, Fla., was last seen with Grant on Sept. 3, 2011.
Laster was 28 years old when she went missing. Authorities are not saying Grant is connected with her disappearance, but they say she was last seen with him.
The Elgin Police Department says Laster was approximately 5-feet-4 inches tall weighing 120 pounds at the time of her disappearance. She has black hair and brown eyes. She was reported missing on March 17 by a family member in Florida. Authorities believe Laster may be in the Florida areas of Homestead, Miami or Key West.
Elvia Swainson says she last saw her daughter Gabbiee asleep in her bed in the early morning hours of Saturday, Aug. 18.
The single mother reported Gabbiee missing to the Richland County Sheriff's Department and they sent an investigator to the family's Northeast Columbia home.
"It's been a hard case for everybody," said Lott. "Investigators are working around the clock."
Lott says he is holding out hope and has not given up on Gabbiee.
Deputies say the search team left the command post around 5 p.m. Tuesday, but the search was not called off for the night. They are following leads and doing searches elsewhere.
Anyone with information on Gabbiee Swainson is asked to contact CrimeStoppers at 1-888-Crime-SC.
Anyone with information on Adriana Laster is asked to contact the Elgin Police Department at 803-438-9917.
MAP: Location of Grant's home showing the junkyard across the street that is being searched by authorities.