Beautiful Gabrielle “Gabbiee” Swainson, 15, a South Carolina cheerleader, was sleeping peacefully in her room on the night of August 18.
Her mother, Elvia Swainson, was leaving to go to work and checked on her daughter before she left at approximately 3am. She woke Gabbiee and gave her the girl’s iPhone and left for work.
She came back home a little after 7 am and Gabbiee was gone. Her iPhone was also gone and there were no signs of forced entry.
Elvia Swainson asked neighbors if they had seen Gabbie and, when the frightening realization soon set in that her daughter was really missing, she contacted the Richland County Sheriff’s Department to file a missing person’s report.
Gabrielle Swainson’s blood was found in her bedroom.
Eliva Swainson has been very proactive in the investigation and hired a private investigator. Family and friends rallied around offering support and putting up flyers. She also has a “Help us find Gabbiee” facebook page.
Gabrielle Swainson’s father, Alvin Thompson, who resides in Virginia is also assisting in the search.
One supporter is Freddie Grant, a family friend who was involved in a relationship with Elvia Swainson, although Elvia Swainson referred to Freddie Grant as a handyman who had done some work for her in the past.
In fact, Grant had only mowed the lawn at the Swainson home only a day earlier before Gabbiee disappeared and, in the early days of the investigation, he even had his phone number listed on the flyers.
Police continued to investigate and soon zeroed in on Grant.
When Grant, 52, was questioned, he said that they needed to contact his attorney, a strange mandate from a family friend.
It soon came to light that Grant has a criminal history and investigators started digging further.
Authorities were able to trace Gabrielle’s missing iPhone to Grant’s home, the “family friend” who was involved with Elvia Swainson.
Blood and hair that have been identified as Gabrielle’s were found on duct tape in Grant’s home and her blood was also found on duct tape in a junkyard across from Grant’s home.
A question has come up as to how Grant would be able to get into the Swainson home since there is no signs of forced entry.
According to Richland Sheriff Leon Lott, a few week prior Elvia Swainson had given Grant a key to the home because he was performing some work at the Swainson residence. When she asked for the key back, Grant said he has lost it.
The key to Swainson’s home was found in Grant’s home.
Freddie Grant’s home was searched and weapons and ammunition were discovered.
As a convicted felon, he is not allowed to be in possession of ammunition and Grant was arrested. He was later charged with the kidnapping of Gabrielle Swainson and is not being cooperative with investigators.
Grant was indicted today on one count of a felon being in possession of ammunition and faces a minimum of 10 years in jail. He could also face 15 years to life if the court determines that he is an armed career criminal with three prior convictions for a violent felony or a serious drug offense
Grant may be involved in other crimes including a homicide.
A former live in girlfriend, Adrienna Dianne Laster, 29, was reported missing in March. Grant had a previous arrest of domestic violence against Laster.
Grant is also a person of interest in the death of a man, Daniel Lee Wood, who was shot and killed. Grant was allegedly at the crime scene when the shooting occurred.
There seems to be a lot of sympathy for Elvia Swainson but for many, something just does not seem quite right. Why did she initially identify Grant as simply a handyman when she was sleeping with him? It just seems strange.
Another “strange” , and possible troubling, aspect is why she went to work at 3am? Reported accounts have said she works at Blue Cross/Blue Shield and regularly did paperwork at off hours, however her sister-in-law says this was the first time.
According to the Charlotte Observer,
Tara Swainson said that was the first time that Elvia Swainson had left her daughter alone in the house that early in the morning. “She and Gabbiee stayed up really late, watching movies, riding out a thunderstorm that night.” Gabrielle was sleeping in her second-story bedroom when her mother left, Tara Swainson said.
And what about the iPhone? She only gave the phone to her daughter at 3 am before she left?
On their own each of those items may only be slightly troubling. Together, the statements are a cause for concern especially about lying about the boyfriend who was later arrested.
Where is Gabrelle Swainson? The railroad tracks, that are across the street from Grant’s home, have been searched and investigators are working tirelessly to locate Gabrielle Swainson. Her mother is not giving up hope and believes that Gabrielle will be found alive.
Anyone with information on where Gabbie is should contact Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC, or e-mail a tip directly on their website at midlandscrimestoppers.com . You can also text information in by texting “TIPSC” plus your message to CRIMES (274637).
Swainson’s body was found on Aug. 8. Grant led authorities to her body which was buried in Elgin. He agreed to disclose the location of the body as part of a plea agreement.