After a grueling search for the Columbia, SC teen who disappeared from her home last August, authorities have finally recovered the remains of 16 year-old Gabbiee Swainson. Investigators were led to the teen’s body 357 days after suspect Freddie Grant allegedly buried it there. Grant cut a deal with authorities and led them to the South Carolina area where he had buried Swainson almost one year ago. Police held a press conference on Thursday to confirm that the body had finally been recovered with use of a backhoe. The teen’s mother did not attend the press conference.
Freddie Grant has been the number one suspect in the teenager’s disappearance from the beginning, via evidence found in his home, boxes of both shotgun shells and .38 caliber bullets. Grant had previously dated Elvia Swainson, Gabbiee’s mother, and had a key to their home; these facts also seem to be part of what initially led police to consider Grant a likely suspect.
On the morning of August 18, 2012, Elvia Swainson returned home from work to the sound of Gabbiee’s alarm clock beeping, but no Gabbiee.
Authorities have given no indication yet as to Grant’s reasoning for kidnapping and killing Gabbiee, who was an honors student mere days away from beginning her sophomore year of high school.
Freddie Grant’s deal with investigators to lead them to Swainson’s body came about after his daughter, Dominique, was arrested and facing jail time. Dominique Grant was also charged as being an accessory to the murder (after the fact) for tampering with physical evidence; Grant’s daughter tried to help him conceal evidence by disposing of the teen’s cell phone behind a grocery store in South Carolina.
Sadly, the area where Gabbiee’s body was recovered was a previously-searched area, and one that federal authorities had even set up a command post on. Apparently, however, Swainson’s body was in such a deep grave and well-concealed that cadaver dogs could not have been alerted to the scent of remains.
To add to the sheer horror of the case, Elvia Swainson had contacted Freddie Grant shortly after Gabbiee disappeared; he then joined the community-wide search for her body.
The state will not be seeking the death penalty in the case, assumedly because of the deal Grant and his attorneys made with police to lead them to Gabbiee’s body.