The Richland County Sheriff’s Department says it will file kidnapping charges against the man long considered the primary suspect in the disappearance of Columbia teen Gabrielle Swainson.
53-year-old Freddie Grant will be charged with kidnapping Swainson last year. The 15-year-old has not been seen since August 18, when deputies claim Grant forced her out of her home in the early morning hours. Swainson’s mother once dated Grant.
For nearly six months, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott has made it no secret that he believes Grant was involved in Swainson’s disappearance. However, investigators had never charged Grant in that case until this week. Grant’s attorneys suggest Swainson may have run away from home.
In January, a federal jury convicted Grant on charges of possessing ammunition as a convicted felon. Investigators found the ammunition in Grant’s home while searching for Swainson. Since then, investigators have been searching for evidence connecting Grant with Swainson’s disappearance. Detectives say they found Swainson’s hair in Grant’s home after obtaining a search warrant, and police found her blood on duct tape near his property.
Grant has been in federal custody since then. He was scheduled for sentencing on the federal conviction in April. Grant is expected to appear in court for a 2:30 p.m. bond hearing Friday.