Suspect in Gabbie Swainson case still not speaking; search continues
Thu, 30 Aug 2012 14:17:09 GMT —
COLUMBIA (WACH / AP) - Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said in a media briefing Thursday morning that 52-year-old Freddie Grant is still not cooperating with authorities.
Grant was arrested Sunday, Aug. 26 and was later charged in connection with the disappearance of 15-year-old Gabrielle Swainson.
"We know who took her, we know who has the key to finding her," said Lott.
Grant, who did yard work and dated the mother of Gabbiee Swainson, is charged with kidnapping her after her blood was found on duct tape near his home. Officials say Grant is being held without bond at the county jail.
Lott says Grant actively pretended to participate in the search for Gabbiee after her mother called him to let him know she was missing.
"He handed out flyers knowing all the while he was the one responsible for taking her," said Lott. "That makes me sick to my stomach."
Lott is still holding out hope that Swainson will be found alive.
"We still want to believe she's alive," said Lott. "She's alive in my mind and my heart."
Lott says there are numerous agencies working in a coordinated effort with the Richland County Sheriff's Department including the Lexington County Sheriff's Department and the Elgin Police Department.
Swainson was last seen on Aug. 18, and her mother has handed out hundreds of flyers and stopped traffic near her home to ask drivers if anyone had seen her daughter.
Lott emphasized in the briefing that Elvia Swainson is working with authorities and helping as much as she can. He says she does not have any responsibility for her daughter's disappearance.
"She had no idea that the monster that was her acquaintance would do what he did," said Lott.
Lott told reporters Thursday he has no new information on the teen's whereabouts and he wants the public to give them any leads that might be helpful.
"We don't need a hero in this, we just need to find Gabbiee," said Lott
If anyone sees something or has a tip that could be related to the case, they are asked to contact the sheriff's department because even the best intentions can turn bad.
Lott released a photo of pajamas similar to the pajamas worn by Gabbiee the last time she was seen. He says the department has possession of Grant's light blue escort they believe was used to transport Gabbiee to his home in Elgin. If anyone sees the pajamas or thinks they saw the blue escort on Friday, Aug 17 or Saturday, Aug. 18, they should contact authorities.
Anyone with information on the case should call CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)