Crimestoppers tips continue to feed Swainson investigation

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Ever wondered what happens when a tip comes into Crimestoppers? It seems to be pretty simple.

It all begins with a phone call. For example, Crimestoppers took a tip in the Gabbiee Swainson case back on Sept. 9. Someone who was helping to search for the girl called in about some clothing found near Freddie Grant's home.

The tip is logged in a crime analyst's computer and a detective is sent to investigate.

From there, the detective did locate two pieces of clothing from the searcher: a bra and a shoe. Photographed, lifted from the scene and bagged, the evidence is walked down the halls of the Sheriff's office to the forensic lab.

"An Item like this, potentially we would examine it visually and then look for possible body fluids such as blood," said Rachel Grant, a DNA analyst for the Richland County Sheriff's Department.

"We also screen for semen and we look for hairs that will potentially have roots for DNA analysis."

The shoe and bra were examined, but they came up negative for everything. The items were also shown to Gabbiee's mother.

"We were told at that time it did not appear so, the shoe size being a little too big and the bra not fitting in with the type of bra Gabbiee would have normally worn," said Lt. Scott McDonald.

However, the items will still be kept just in case.

"We don't every want to get rid of evidence that could potentially link someone to this crime, or link us to where Gabbiee may be," McDonald said.

Investigators say they do have "great evidence" against Freddie Grant.

"We have duct tape from the residence with her blood and hair roots on it, we have duct tape from the junkyard, just across the railroad tracks from Mr. Grant's house, with Gabbiee's DNA on it as well. Actually have two pieces of tape from that junkyard," said McDonald.

Still they need that one tip that may lead them to Gabbiee.

"Every second that goes by is another second we haven't found Gabbiee, and that's our ultimate goal at this point to find Gabbiee," said McDonald.

Gabbiee was last seen wearing pink and black pajamas when she went missing. Investigators have searched several ponds around the Elgin area near Grant's home, but have found no sign of Gabbiee.

If you have any information about this case, you are asked to call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

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