Teens raise money, awareness for Gabbiee Swainson's family

ELGIN, SC (WIS) - When you see a simple blue bracelet, Mackenzie and Sydney Thompson hope Gabbiee Swainson comes to your mind.

"When we did it in the Sandhills, we were out there selling them, and there were some people who had never heard about Gabbiee, so we could explain her story to them and let other people know what's going on," said Mackenzie.

It was Mackenzie's idea. Her sister, along with Kaila Warner and Vikki Barrett, decided it was a way the community could help spread the word about the 15-year-old's disappearance.

"It's like a way for everybody to feel like they're doing something to make a difference," said Sydney.

In two weeks, they've sold nearly all of the 1,100 initially ordered at $2 a piece, many giving more than the bracelet's worth.

"It actually kind of surprised me the support we got from other schools, because people from everywhere knew her, she wasn't just a Ridge View student," said Sydney.

Other schools have held fundraisers including no uniforms in exchange for a donation to a Gabbiee Swainson's fund. Some of that has funneled to Crimestoppers.

"That helps that reward, that helps build it up and that maybe the motivation for someone to call in and give us that piece of evidence, that tidbit we need," said Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott.

Over 400 tips have come in on Gabbiee's case.

"This is a big puzzle and you've got to put the pieces in that puzzle, so we've got some tips people have called in and helped put a piece in that puzzle, we just need to complete the puzzle now," said Lott.

They're still looking for that piece that might lead them to Gabbiee Swainson.

If you want one of the bracelets, please email slamt89@yahoo.com.

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