A suspect has been arrested in the disappearance of 15-year-old Gabrielle Swainson of Columbia, SC. Gabrielle is the daughter of OOIDA Member Alvin Thompson, who lives in Virginia.
Photo credit: Richland County Sheriff's Department
On Sunday, police charged Freddie Grant, 52, of Elgin, SC, with kidnapping in the girl’s disappearance. Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott told the media in a press conference that Grant forcibly took Gabrielle in the early-morning hours of Aug. 15 and drove her to his home.
DNA and cell phone records place Gabrielle at Grant’s home immediately following her disappearance and there is “clear evidence of foul play,” according to a press release issued by the Sheriff’s Department. Grant is being “completely uncooperative” in finding Gabrielle, the release states.
In a press conference today, Lott said police discovered ammunition during a search of Grant’s home. “Once we looked at his record and with his history, immediately a flag went up.”
“I’m not going to say he’s the complete focus, but it sure looked good at that point and that’s when we started checking some other stuff,” Lott told the media. “The DNA came back and we knew we were on the right track.”
Police are also investigating Grant’s connection to a missing 18-year-old Homestead, FL, woman who looked similar to Gabrielle. Lott reported the last place she was seen was with Grant at his house and “she’s disappeared off the face of the earth.”
The sheriff hasn’t given up hope finding Gabrielle and bringing her home.
“That’s the way we’re operating, that she can be found and brought home. That’s the way we’re going to continue operating. I want to charge him with kidnapping,” Lott said.
Early this morning more than 120 Deputies and FBI Agents continued to search the area around Grant’s home in an effort to find Gabrielle.
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