COLUMBIA (WACH / AP) - Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said in a news conference Wednesday that the man accused of kidnapping 15-year-old Gabrielle Swainson had a key to the home she was taken from.
When Gabbiee first went missing, authorities said there was no forced entry to the home and no sign of foul play.
Lott said Gabbiee's mother gave 52-year-old Freddie Grant a key to her home about six weeks ago while he was doing floor work in the Swainsons' home. Lott says Grant then repeatedly lied, telling her he lost the key.
Lott showed the key on a key ring that had been recovered at Grant's home during the news conference.
According to Lott, Grant had stayed in the home previously, but was not living there. Elvia Swainson was dating Grant at the time of her daughter's disappearance.
Gabbiee Swainson went missing from her mother's home in Northeast Columbia on August 18th.
Grant was arrested August 26 and later charged with kidnapping in the Gabbiee Swainson case. He 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 continues to stay silent.
"He's answering with his silence what kind of heart that he's got," said Lott.
Lott has been ordered by Grant's attorney to not speak to him.
Lott says teams are still "searching any and everywhere" for the missing teen as new evidence and tips come in.
"We haven't found anything that says she isn't alive," said Lott.
If you have any information that could help investigators find Gabbiee Swainson call Crimestoppers 1-888-CRIME-SC.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)