COLUMBIA (WACH)â??â??I never expected her not to be here,â?? says Elvia Swainson about arriving home on Saturday August 18.
Swainson said that the evening before Gabbiee Swainsonâ??s disappearance was a normal Friday. Gabbiee went to guitar lessons, and then she brought her daughter to the Village at Sandhill to meet a friend. The two Swainsonâ??s went back to the house, and they watched television together before Gabbiee went to her room to sleep.
Swainson went into the office early on Saturday so that she could get some work done while Gabbiee was sleeping. When she came home, she heard Gabbieeâ??s alarm going off in her room. â??Something dropped inside of me,â?? she said, racing up the stairs to check on her daughter. It was then that Swainson experienced every parentâ??s nightmare. Gabbiee was gone. Swainson checked in all the other rooms in their Northeast Columbia home, but couldnâ??t find her, beginning a search that has lasted nearly three months.
Since August 18, Gabbieeâ??s story has touched many people in the Midlands, who have gathered to hold several vigils, and even received national attention from Nancy Grace .
WACH Fox anchor Tyler Ryan sat down for an exclusive conversation with Elvia Swainson. In the three part series, Elvia talks about Gabbiee growing up, the last evening she spent with her daughter, what she did in the minutes that followed the discovery that she was missing, and what she thinks about the evidence that has been presented by the Richland County Sheriffâ??s Department about Freddie Grant.
In Part 1 of the series, Elvia Swainson shares memories about Gabbiee as a young girl, who, by the age of five, was a member of two dance teams, involved with gymnastics, and modeling. Elvia recalls that one of Gabbieeâ??s passions was playing with dolls, and the two would spend hours together doing just that. Elvia also tells us about Gabbieeâ??s education, and acceptance to an exclusive magnet school.
Click HERE for the abridged version.
Elvia recounts the last evening the two spent together, and the immediate terror that went through her when she opened to the door to her house on that fateful Saturday morning in the second segment of the interview.
She also talks about what she has learned through the experience, citing that there is â??not a manualâ?? for dealing with something like the disappearance of a child. In addition, Elvia makes a plea to anyone watching to help her, and look for even the smallest details which may hold the key to locating her daughter.
â??No matter if you are friends with somebody, they donâ??t have the right to go into your house, and take your child out of your house.â?? The words of a mother who hasnâ??t seen her daughter since August 18.
â??No matter what it is, I want the truth to come out,â?? says Elvia Swainson in Part 3 of our conversation. In the days that followed Gabbieeâ??s disappearance, Freddie Grant, a man she calls a â??family friendâ?? was named as a suspect, and subsequently charged with kidnapping related to the case.
Swainson says, when asked about Grantâ??s potential involvement, that the evidence that has been shared with her by the Richland County Sheriffâ??s Department is all she has to go on. â??No parent wants to go through thisâ?|you wouldnâ??t wish it on your worst enemy.
Swainson has given several interviews and appeared alongside Sheriff Leon Lott at press conferences, however, she has said little about Grant, stating â??thatâ??s not helping me find my child.â??
She does continue her attempts to contact Grant in hopes that he will share any details about her disappearance he may know, or information that he wasnâ??t involved, all in the hopes that it will lead her to Gabbiee.
Elvia Swainson remains optimistic, saying that she knows Gabbiee is â??on her way home.â??
Click HERE for the abridged version.
Here are some key dates in the case:
August 18, 2012: Gabbiee reported missing
August 21, 2012: Prayer Vigil held for Gabbiee
August 29, 2012: Arrest of Freddie Grant
September 5, 2012: Sherriff says Grant had a key to the house
September 6, 2012: Gag order requested by Grantâ??s attorney
September 13, 2012: Gag order denied by judge
September 19, 2012: Grant charged with federal weapons charge
October 2, 2012: Grant enters not guilty plea
October 30, 2012: Delay in Grantâ??s federal charge delayed
November 2, 2012: Elvia says she still has hope in press conference
November 4, 2012: A â??night of hopeâ?? held at Village at Sandhill
If you have any information about Gabbiee Swainsonâ??s disappearance, you are urged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME SC.