Crime Scene Investigation: Why Gabbiee's body wasn't found soone - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Crime Scene Investigation: Why Gabbiee's body wasn't found sooner

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ELGIN, SC (WIS) -

"There was just no way to tell that she was buried at that spot."

Several times Thursday, Sheriff Leon Lott said how disappointed he was that he couldn't bring Gabbiee Swainson home sooner, going so far as to say his department failed in the search.

But her grave in Elgin was so deep, and so well concealed, it went unnoticed to experienced search and rescue teams and cadaver dogs.

"Usually they go, dig a little shallow grave, throw some dirt on it, some leaves, and then eventually you find it," said Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews.

Matthews was on the scene in Elgin Thursday and watched as Richland County investigators carefully probed the earth looking for soft spots in the soil, signs of a fresh dig. Although the body was buried in Kershaw County, the investigation was under the jurisdiction of the Richland County Sheriff's Department.

"We thought it'd be at about three feet," Matthews said. "We get to three feet, we keep digging and digging, then the probe went down another two to three feet."

Sheriff Lott believes Grant dug the hole himself then covered his tracks.

"There's just no way we would've been able to find it without somebody doing what they did today and that's Freddie Grant taking us to the exact location and saying, 'This is where I buried her,'" he said at a news conference Thursday night announcing Grant had led investigators to where he buried Swainson.

"Freddie Grant was a landscaper," Matthews said. "He was used to digging deep holes. You or I might not have dug a hole that deep because we're not used to it. He is, and has on a regular basis, I think."

Sheriff Lott and the Richland County Coroner confirmed Friday the body found Thursday was Gabrielle Swainson.

Now investigators want to know what else could be hidden in the woods where Gabbiee's body was found. Grant is named as a person of interest in the nearly two-year-old disappearance of Adriana Laster.

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