Father says comfort, but no closure in finding missing daughter's body

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | Thursday, August 15, 2013

The father of a murdered South Carolina teenager said today he doesn’t believe there will ever be closure for himself and his family.

OOIDA Member Alvin Thompson’s 15-year-old daughter Gabrielle “Gabbiee” Swainson, was kidnapped from her mother’s home and murdered last August. Her body was finally recovered by police last week after a plea deal was reached with Freddie Grant, the man accused of the crimes.

“I don’t think there’s every really any closure to a situation like this,” Thompson said in a phone interview with Land Line Now. “He’s still alive, he’s still smiling, and he’s still got … he’s not free but you might well say he’s free. If you’re alive, you’re free anyway. … All he’s really gotta do is go sit up in jail and we feed him for 30 years.

“I don’t think there’s ever any closure. She hadn’t even started her life. She was young. The old pervert went and took it away from her. It’s just comforting to know we recovered her body and we can lay her at rest knowing where she’s at. And she’s with the Lord.”

Thompson was at the hearing on Wednesday afternoon in Richland County Superior Court, when his daughter’s killer, 53-year-old Freddie Grant, of Elgin, S.C., entered a guilty plea to charges of kidnapping and murder. After leading police to the spot where he buried Gabbiee, Grant pleaded guilty to charges of kidnapping and murder, and received two 30-year sentences to be served concurrently. Grant is already serving a 17-year sentence in federal prison after being convicted in January of a federal charge of unlawful ammunition possession by a felon.

“I really don’t think 30 years is enough for him, but that’s the deal we made and we have to abide by it,” Thompson said. “I don’t think it really was justice for Gabbiee, to be honest.”

In exchange for leading police to the girl, Grant’s plea deal also resulted in felony accessory charges being dropped against his own daughter, 27-year-old Dominique Grant, who had been in custody since July. 

Gabbiee Swainson went missing almost a year ago from her mother’s home in Elgin. Police identified Grant, who had dated the girl’s mother, as a suspect after he refused to answer basic questions from police. He is also considered a suspect in the September 2011 disappearance of a Homestead, Fla., woman, and the October 2011 murder of a Kershaw County man.

Local authorities and the community launched a search for the girl, and both law enforcement and Thompson have said the area where the body was discovered had been searched more than once.

“We had to make a deal with the devil to get him to tell us where she was,” Thompson said. “We couldn’t find her anyway. I know I walked on that same spot 15 or 20 times. We rested on that same spot, waiting on the others to catch up, in that same spot. And we couldn’t tell anything. The police checked with their dogs across the same spot and they didn’t find anything. He had her buried about 5-foot deep. We weren’t ever going to find her.”

“Land Line Now” News Anchor Reed Black contributed to this article.

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