Suspect Leads Authorities to Body of Missing Teen Gabbiee Swainson

Friday, 09 Aug 2013 05:14 PM

By Ken Mandel

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The search for abducted teenager Gabbiee Swainson ended Thursday after nearly a year, when the man who allegedly took her led police to her gravesite in South Carolina.

"This wasn't a 'whodunit,'" Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said at a news conference reported by 14 News confirming the body was that of 16-year-old Swainson. "Almost immediately we were able to determine Freddie Grant was the man responsible for kidnapping Gabbiee. The challenge was we couldn't find Gabbiee."

Grant was temporarily released from Kentucky federal penitentiary Thursday morning, and brought authorities to a wooded area near Elgin, S.C.

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"He's taken us there," Lott said. "He's told us. He's showed us."

Swainson, an honors student at Ridge View High School, disappeared from her home Aug. 18, 2012, while her mother was at work. Grant was always the only suspect. He had a key to Swainson's home because he once dated the victim's mother, Elvia Swainson.

Grant was arrested eight days after the girl disappeared for violating the terms of a previous conviction when police found shotgun shells and .38-caliber bullets. He was sentenced to 212 months.

Initially charged with kidnapping, Grant now faces murder charges, United Press International reports.

Lott told reporters Grant's cooperation was prompted when his 27-year-old daughter, Dominique Grant, was arrested and charged with accessory after she reportedly tried to throw away Swainson's cell phone at a Myrtle Beach grocery store.

"That was, I guess, the breaking point as far as to getting Freddie to lead us to where Gabbiee was at," Lott said, according to UPI. "So I don't want anybody to think he did this out of his conscience or he felt bad for Gabbiee or [Gabbiee's mother] Elvia or this community. He didn't do that.

"He did it solely because his daughter was arrested and she was facing some very serious jail time," Lott said. "That's what we needed."

The body was found near the Elgin Fire Department, and while that area had been thoroughly searched, authorities said the body was well concealed.

Swainson was positively identified at the Richland County Coroner's Office.

"Many, many people looked in the exact same place where we found her," Lott said, according to 14 News. "But the way she was concealed, you wouldn't know. The cadaver dog would not have been able to find it at the depth that it was," he said. "We just couldn't find it. There's just no way of finding it without someone taking us to that area and showing us.

"This has been 357 days of terror that Gabbiee's mother and family had endured, that this community had endured," said Lott. "It's not the way we'd have liked this to have ended. We'd have liked to have found Gabbiee and brought her home to her momma."

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