COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A man who did yard work for the family of a missing 15-year-old Columbia girl has been charged with kidnapping her after her blood was found on duct tape near his home, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said.
The sheriff was holding out hope that Gabrielle Swainson will be found alive, and more than 100 officers are combing through a junkyard across from the suspect's home in Elgin on Tuesday looking for the missing teen.
"I haven't given up hope of finding her and bringing her home. That's what we're operating under, that she can be found," Lott said. "He's only charged with kidnapping."
Freddie Grant., 52, was uncooperative when investigators first asked him if he knew where Swainson was and hadn't been any more helpful since he was charged with kidnapping on Monday.
Swainson was last seen around 4 a.m. on Aug. 18 when her mother put her cellphone in her hand as she left her home in the suburbs northeast of Columbia to catch up on paperwork in her job as a workman's compensation claims adjuster. When the mom returned home several hours later, her daughter's alarm clock was ringing and her only child, nicknamed Gabbiee, was gone. All the teen's clothes, her purse and her cellphone charger were still in the home, authorities said.
Investigators began questioning the family and anyone who knew the girl. Grant was an obvious target because he was a convicted felon and deputies became even more suspicious when he refused to cooperate, Lott said.
Bullets were found in his home, leading to a federal weapons charge. That led to more searches, which uncovered his DNA and Gabbiee's DNA on duct tape with blood on it found near his house, the sheriff said.
Cell phone records show Grant was near Swainson's home around the time she disappeared and both of them appeared to end up at Grant's home, the sheriff said.
Grant is being held without bail at the Lexington County jail. It wasn't clear if he had a lawyer.
Swainson's mother has been tirelessly looking for her daughter in the 10 days she has been missing. She has handed out hundreds of flyers and stopped traffic at a busy street near her home to ask drivers if anyone had seen the teen. She couldn't be reached Tuesday, but Lott said the news devastated her.
"She surrounded her whole life around Gabbiee. Took her places, did things with her. That's one of the reasons she was out at work," Lott said.
The case could expand further. Investigators said a 28-year-old woman who lived with Grant in Elgin has been missing for nearly a year. Adriana Laster disappeared in September 2011, but wasn't reported missing until March of this year by her grandmother in Homestead, Fla., Elgin Police Chief Harold Brown said.
Grant and Laster lived together and had a troubled relationship. Brown said his officers were called to their home several times, culminating in an April 2011 charge of criminal domestic violence against Grant. Police pressed forward with the misdemeanor even though Laster asked them to drop the case. Grant was convicted and paid a fine, Brown said.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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