COLUMBIA (WACH) â?? It has been just short of 6 months since 15-year-old Gabbiee Swainson disappeared from her Northeast Columbia home .
After leaving at about 3:30 a.m. on August 18, to catch up on work, her mother, Elvia Swainson, returned home at 7:30 a.m. to find Gabbiee gone. After calling family, friends, and searching around the neighborhood, Elvia called the Richland County Sheriffâ??s Department , who began a long search to track leads in hopes of finding Gabbiee.
That search is ongoing.
Over 100 local, state, and federal law enforcement officers joined in the search, which included Gabbieeâ??s neighborhood, and eventually, the home of Freddie Grant in Elgin .
According to the sheriffâ??s department, Gabbieeâ??s cell phone was â?? pinged ,â?? indicating it was within 400 yards of Grantâ??s Kelly Street house on the morning of her disappearance. This caused investigators to swarm on Grantâ??s house, and the surrounding area to search for any clue that might lead them to Gabbiee, and led to Freddie Grant being named a suspect in the case.
Grant, who was convicted of federal ammunition charges in January, has remained silent regarding the disappearance of Gabbiee.
In the days, weeks, and months that have passed, law enforcement investigators have been joined by a private investigation firm hired by Elvia.
â??A lot of time with cases like this, there may be people who have had bad experiences with law enforcement,â?? explains Senior Investigator Jael Gilreath about the use of a private investigation firm in a missing person case. â??They may be more willing to talk to someone who isnâ??t trying to get them in trouble â?? just trying to gather information.â??
There have been several bits of information released by police investigators in hopes that the information may trigger a memory or more information. According to Gilreath, duct tape with Gabbieeâ??s DNA was found in Grantâ??s house, as well as in a fenced in junk yard adjacent to his house when the area was searched.
Although it has been several months, efforts have not stopped.
â??People still remember things, people still find things, and people still hear things,â?? says Gilreath. She says that any information is important, regardless of how small it may seem to be. For private investigators like Gilreath, information and interviews still continue in hopes of finding clues.
If you have any information about Gabbiee Swainsonâ??s disappearance, you are asked to call Crime Stoppers, 1-888-CRIME-SC.
UPDATE: You can see more with Investogator Gilreath, and the exclusive video from the junk yard under the video section of this story.