Case continues to build against suspect in kidnapping of trucker's daughter

By Kimberely Lennard, Land Line staff writer | 11/13/2012

Although 15-year-old Gabrielle Swainson of Columbia, SC, has not been found, the case against her suspected abductor continues to build. Freddie Grant, 52, of Elgin, SC, is suspected of kidnapping Gabbiee from her home in the early-morning hours of Aug. 18. Gabbiee is the daughter of OOIDA Member Alvin Thompson, who lives in Virginia.

The case is “still a very active investigation,” Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said in a Nov. 2 press conference.

“We’re still searching when we get tips, and the tips are still coming in.”

A key piece of evidence was some duct tape that was found in a junkyard near Grant’s home. DNA found on the tape belonged to Grant and also to Gabbiee. Police have now located and tested the duct tape roll that the two pieces of duct tape came from, Lott says.

“Scientists tell me … they were both put on at the same time. Her DNA and placing her in certain locations is one of the most significant things.”

Grant is currently being held on weapons charges to which he pleaded not guilty on Oct. 2. His bond request was denied on Nov. 7 on the grounds that he was in felony possession of ammunition, has prior drug convictions and is a possible armed career criminal facing 15 years to life in prison, according to court documents. His trial is scheduled for January.

In the bond denial paperwork, Judge Shiva Hodges stated that Grant had previously failed to succeed on parole/release, has prior violent offenses of assault, battery, domestic violence, kidnapping and resisting arrest.

Grant is charged in Gabbiee’s kidnapping, for which a detainer is entered at the Lexington County Detention Center. He faces 30 years in prison for the kidnapping.

Grant is also being investigated regarding his connection to a Homestead, FL, woman missing from Elgin since Sept. 3, 2011. Lott reported the last place she was seen was with Grant at his house. He is also a suspect in the murder of a Kershaw County man in October 2011.

Although he assisted in the early search efforts for Gabbiee, Grant refused to cooperate with police when the investigation into her kidnapping began. The first thing he said when initially questioned in the investigation, according to Lott, was “I’m not talking. Talk to my attorney.”

Gabbiee’s mother, Elvia Swainson, said during the press conference she has written letters to Grant in prison, asking if she can talk to him face to face and get some answers.

“Continue to call. It’s very important. I haven’t given up, I’m not going to give up,” she said. “I’m pleading to the public to help me. Please bring my child home.”

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