Lott: Grant had key to Swainson home

Gabbiee Swainson (Source: Facebook)
Gabbiee Swainson (Source: Facebook)
Sheriff Lott holds a key found in Grant's home.
Sheriff Lott holds a key found in Grant's home.

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) - As the days pass, the details about what may have happened to 15-year-old Gabrielle Swainson continue to trickle into the public.

A day after speaking to Nancy Grace on her national show, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott spoke to the media about the case Wednesday.

Lott said one of the questions many people have been asking is how 52-year-old Freddie Grant allegedly got into the Swainson home. The sheriff said that mystery was solved Tuesday afternoon.

Investigators found a key in Grant's home that opens the door to Elvia Swainson's home.

Lott said Swainson gave Grant the key several weeks ago when he was doing some flooring work in the home. According to the sheriff, Grant told Swainson that he lost the key. That was a lie, Lott said.

The sheriff said he still believes Gabbiee is alive. "Our priority at this point is to find her, " said Lott. We're still looking for Gabbiee. "We have not found her."

Swainson has been missing since August 18. She vanished during a 3-4 hour period when her mother Elvia was at work.

The focus of the investigation into her disappearance remains on Grant. He is in custody, but not talking to investigators, Lott said.

Gabbiee's blood was found on her bed and on duct tape in Grant's home, according to investigators.

Investigators continue to sort through evidence collected from Grant's home in Elgin and his blue Ford Escort, proof Gabbiee was inside the home.

"We found her DNA in some other places, we're not going to discuss that, there are some things that we have just not released and we're not going to release," Lott said. "The DNA that we found initially in her house that did not come on the duct tape, but her DNA was found somewhere else in the house and that got us knowing for certain she had been in there."

Elvia Swainson posted the following statement on Facebook early Thursday morning:


I am forever grateful for the overwhelming support and encouragement through the outpouring of love and prayers for my child's safe return. These demonstrations/acts of love beginning with assisting me with search teams, churches holding special prayers, communities holding candlelight vigils, strangers allowing me to search areas, to notes, letters and cards, food, telephone calls, texts, emails, etc., etc., etc. is truly an inspiration. This powerful act of GOD truly warms my heart and strengthens my mind. GOD continues to show me his amazing love and that he cares for both Gabbiee and me. With my own two eyes, I am continuing to experience the coming together of a mass amount of people such as churches, both believers and non-believers, people that don't know me, people that are dear to me, co-workers, etc.; coming together to offer assistance. It is from one extreme to the next beginning with the City of Columbia, the Town of Elgin, all over the State of SC and even outside of this State (Pennsylvania, Virginia, Hawaii).
Through your acts of love and kindness in this very tough situation, God continues to show me how much he loves us. Please continue to share the good news of Jesus Christ. He loves each and every one of us. My heart wants to hold hands and hug everyone for the outpouring of love. 
Please continue to pray for my child's safe return. I am not giving up on finding my child. My prayer is that she returns to me alive. Please continue to assist law enforcement with any tips, there is a reward for any tip leading to locating my child.


If you know anything about Gabbiee's disappearance, you are urged to call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

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