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Thursday, August 30, 2012

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC - Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott held a press briefing today to bring the community and media up to date on where the investigation is on the search for Gabrielle Swainson.

Sheriff Leon Lott stated that in his heart and mind Garbrielle is still alive and that two separate investigations are underway at this time. The Sheriff stated that investigators from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, Kershaw County Sheriff’s Department, Elgin Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigations and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children are both searching for Gabiee and building a case against Grant. The Sheriff added that it is believed that Grant is connected with the kidnapping of Gabiee, the disappearance of Adriana Laster from Elgin and the murder of a man in Kershaw County in October. The Sheriff stated that investigators have not ruled out that Grant may be connected with other crimes; and that state, federal and local agencies are working to determine Grant’s connection to other cases.

Sheriff Leon Lott stated that Gabrielle’s mother is staying strong through this whole ordeal and is a great mother. The Sheriff stated that Grant was a family acquaintance and is a monster. The Sheriff stated that it makes him sick to his stomach that Grant assisted with the initial search for Gabbiee and that Grant has the key to bringing Gabbiee home -- that Grant needs to do the right thing and stop the pain the family and community are feeling.

Sheriff Leon Lott also released a photograph of similar pajamas that Gabbiee was wearing the last time she was seen (photograph is attached to this release). The Sheriff stated that investigators know that Grant was driving a 1992 Ford Escort, blue in color, the night he kidnapped Gabbiee from her home.

Sheriff Leon Lott stated that although this investigation is very complex, and we are utilizing the resources of local, state and federal law enforcement, investigators continue to comb through leads, forensic evidence and canvass the communities where Gabbiee might be.

Sheriff Leon Lott stated that the community is playing a vital role in praying and supporting the Swainson family, while also providing many valuable tips to investigators. The Sheriff added that the investigators are working to identify anyone who may have employed Freddie Grant (who has been charged with kidnapping in connection with her disappearance). The Sheriff stated that Grant may have worked as a landscaper or handy-man or driven trucks, in and around the Midlands; and those he worked for may have valuable information on Grant’s behaviors, habits, tendencies or places he frequented.

The Sheriff is asking that anyone that Grant may have worked for to please contact the Department’s Criminal Investigations Unit at 803-576-3187.

Sheriff Leon Lott asked that all searches for Gabbiee need to be coordinated through the Sheriff’s Department in order to not compromise any evidence that may be recovered and to make sure that valuable information is compiled properly. The Sheriff added that everyone should continue to pray for the family and that anyone with information on this case to please come forward.

If you, or someone you know, have any information regarding any crime, you are encouraged to contact Crimestoppers. You could earn a reward up to $1,000.

Anonymous tips can be submitted to Crimestoppers by calling 1-888-CRIME-SC.

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