ELGIN, SC (WACH) â?? â??I know he is going to kill meâ?|â?? the words that ring in the ears of Dorothy Forston, who heard her daughter say them during their last conversation in the fall of 2011.
According to Forston, her daughter, Adriana Laster, had moved to Elgin from Florida to live with Freddie Grant several years ago, and in the time before her disappearance, she felt Adriana was in an abusive relationship. â??I had a niece in the car, and she told me he (Grant) hit her so hard he knocked her out,â?? Forston said on a phone interview.
Freddie Grant is a convicted felon who is now facing charges of kidnapping Gabbiee Swainson, a 15-year-old girl who disappeared from her Northeast Columbia home on August 18, 2012. In January, 2013, he was convicted of a federal ammunition violation after a search warrant was executed on his house as part of the Swainson investigation.
Phyllis Horn, a Laster family friend, said that she saw a change over the time that Adriana lived in Elgin, explaining that calls back to Florida began to change from â??always being in contactâ?? to seldom.
It was a change that Horn blames directly on Freddie Grant, citing Laster's return to using drugs, and going so far as indicating that jail time, according to Horn, she spent in the Florida Keyâ??s for drugs was related to him.
Harold Brown , Chief of the seven man Elgin Police Department said that disturbance calls to the 1009 Kelly Street house where Grant and Laster lived were not unusual. Brown said that â??some of the first calls we got were based on arguments, but then there were signs of violence.â??
Brown went on the say that although there were signs, making a case was difficult due to Adriana's lack of cooperation. He explained that although neighbors were willing to help, without statements from the victim, it made prosecution challenging. Brown said they were able to collect enough evidence for two abuse charges, one of which Grant was convicted.
Neighbors also talked about the escalation in violence between the two. â??I know he used to beat her,â?? said Candi Brawley, who lived next door to Grant and Laster. â??We woke up to her screaming, and when we got up and went to the front door, she came running and screaming for help. She was all bloody from where (Grant) had been beating her,â?? she said.Related Stories Private Investigators help in Gabbiee search Elvia Swainson: "I never expected her not to be here." Elvia's own words Grant guilty on ammunition charges
â??He would beat her up sometimes,â?? said Hazel Rotan, Grantâ??s former brother-in-law.
Robert Woods remembered a time when Laster was at his residence, next door to Grantâ??s. â??Heâ??d said he come over here to get what belonged to himâ?|and thatâ??s where (Laster) stabbed him,â?? Woods said of an incident days before her disappearance.
According to Forston, Laster called her in the fall of 2011, indicating that she wanted to go back to Florida. Forston said that she wired her over $100 for a bus ticket; however, a day later, she said she called her and was crying.
â??My money is gone,â?? she said to her mother, â??Freddie (Grant) took it. Heâ??s definitely going to kill me.â??
According to Forston, that was the last time she talked to her daughter. The Elgin Police were contacted, and contact was made with Laster, and she appeared to be ok. Concern started to grow as calls back to Florida stopped.
Phyllis Horn said that Laster never missed calling her daughter during the Holidays until 2011. She said that when no call came in at Christmas, she knew something had happened to Laster.
Brown said that an investigation began in the spring of 2012, and included contacting the media in Florida and South Carolina, conversations with neighbors, and Grant.
â??(Grant) said he didnâ??t know where she was. As far as he knew, she had gone back to Florida,â?? Brown said. The seasoned police officer, however, isnâ??t buying Grantâ??s story. â??We have a lot of hearsay about abuse we didnâ??t know about. Pretty serious abuse. It seems like it is true. We just donâ??t have enough to make a charge."
Brown is not alone in his belief that Grant may be involved. â??Iâ??m positive (Grant was involved). To prove it, I canâ??t, but Iâ??m positive,â?? said Dorothy Forston.
Horn indicated she is a little more certain, although she offers no facts or evidence. â??Freddie (Grant) knows where she is because he put her there,â?? she said.
Grantâ??s involvement, if he had any at all isnâ??t known, as he has remained tight lipped since becoming a suspect in the Swainson investigation in August. He was charged with kidnapping in early February, 2013, at which time he waived his right to a bond hearing.
WACH Fox contacted Freddie Grant's attorney, however, as of the publishing of this story, no call has been returned.
Adriana Laster is described as a black female, 5 feet 4 inches tall with brown hair and brown eyes. She was last seen in Elgin in the fall of 2011. If anyone has any information about where she is, or what might have happened to her, you are asked to contact Crime Stoppers , 1-888-CRIME-SC.