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 (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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