Gabrielle “Gabbiee” Swainson, 16, has been missing since August 18, when her mother came home from an overnight shift to find that her daughter, who had been in her pajamas and asleep, was gone. With no sign of the girl, no forced entry, and no leads, police were unable to issue and Amber Alert for the missing teen. One of the first tasks for law enforcement in such cases is to determine that there has, in fact, been an abduction. Gabbiee disappeared without a trace, and there were was no evidence that she had been taken.
Investigators must also determine that there is risk of serious bodily injury or death. Days of investigation finally turned up Gabbiee’s blood in her room, but that was not enough to conclude that she had been in any danger. The final most likely impediment to issuing an Amber Alert in Gabbiee’s case was probably that there must be sufficient descriptive information, in other words you have to have enough details about, for example, the abduction, the victim, the suspect and the suspect’s vehicle to assume that releasing that information to the public will help law enforcement recover the child. In Gabbiee’s case, they had nothing. It was not known if she had left on foot, run away, or been abducted from the home, or the road. They only knew that this was out of character for her.
After finally finding her cell phone, investigators were able to trace her route that fateful day, which led them to the home of her mother’s boyfriend, Freddie Grant. There they found Gabbiee’s blood and hair on some used duct tape. They also found some of her hair and blood in a junked car in a nearby junk yard, but still no sign of the girl. Police now believe that Grant, using his key to the Swainson home, abducted the girl. He has an extensive criminal past, is a suspect in another disappearance, and in a murder. Of Grant’s record, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said “He’s a monster, there’s no telling of what he’s done in the past.” Grant is charged with kidnapping.
Most recently a judge quashed a request by Grant’s attorney to put a gag order on the Sherriff’s office, arguing that the Sherriff’s choice of words regarding Grant could prejudice the public against Grant. The judge disagreed, saying that, “The degree of community interest and concern in this matter helps to further show that the issue of investigating and finding a missing fifteen year- old girl (sic) is a ‘matter of public importance.’” However, the judge warned the Sherriff to ensure that any comment he made to the media, “serve a legitimate law enforcement purpose.”
Garielle is still missing.