Freddie Grant (Image: Lexington County Detention Center)
Freddie Grant's house in Elgin.
Crews search in Elgin for signs of Gabbiee Swainson.
Elgin, SC (WLTX) - Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott says a suspect has been arrested for forcibly kidnapping 15-year-old Gabbiee Swainson, but the girl herself has yet to be located.
Officers say 52-year-old Freddie Grant is accused of taking the girl. Lott says Grant was the boyfriend of Swainson's mother.
According to the sheriff's investigators, Grant took Swainson early on the morning of August 18 at her home in Richland County. Previous Coverage: FBI Joins Search for Missing Teen | Reward for Missing Girl Raised
Lott says there was no forced entry into the home, but he knows that she was not taken willingly from the home. The sheriff says his officers believe Grant then took her to his home. What happened next is still unknown.
"When we initially interviewed him, he was totally uncooperative with us, which was unusual in that here's someone who's a friend of the family who just doesn't want to help," Lott said.
Officers say Grant was arrested on a gun charge Sunday. Since he's been in custody, officers gathered evidence connecting him to the case, and charged him with kidnapping Tuesday.
Lott says investigators have found blood on duct tape that matches Gabbiee's at Grant's home, and they've recovered other DNA evidence linking the suspect to the disappearance. In addition, GPS tracking from her cell phone also led investigators to the location.
"The cell phone was able to be track, where we can show when it left the house, the route they took, and where he ended up at," Lott said.
Officers now say they're focusing their search efforts for Gabbiee at a junk yard near Grant's home, with more than 100 officers at that location.
"We're looking to find Gabbiee to bring her home," Lott said. "Our hope and prayers is that she's going to be recovered, she's going to be fine."
Lott say Grant had been at the home hours earlier cutting grass. He says they believe he took the girl shortly after her mother went to work overnight.
Lott stressed, however, that the mother did everything she could to protect her child, but that the family encountered the wrong person, and Grant took advantage of the circumstances.
"A monster came in that morning," Lott said.
Lott says the mother is devastated by what's taken place, but she is staying strong.
"She loved Gabbiee, she spent time with Gabbiee, she surrounded her whole life around Gabbiee," Lott said. "It was one of the reasons she was out at work. This was not abnormal for her to go out to work and do what she did. At that time of the morning, that allowed her to spend more time with Gabbiee."
Lott describes the man as a career criminal with multiple arrests on his record. "He's just overall a bad guy," Lott said.
The sheriff said he also may be connected to another missing person's case: the disappearance of 29-year-old Adrianna Laster of Elgin. She hasn't been seen since September of last year, and Lott says she was last known to have been with Grant.
Grant is not charged in any way with Laster's disappearance.
Anyone with information should call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.