COLUMBIA -- A man accused of kidnapping a missing Columbia teen last year has now been charged with her death.
Richland County sheriff’s deputies have filed murder charges against 53-year-old Freddie Grant.
Sheriff Leon Lott says Grant led officers to 15-year-old Gabrielle Swainson’s body near Elgin in Kershaw County on Thursday. Her body was recovered around 9 p.m.
Lott says the body was found after officers went to a federal prison in Kentucky where Grant was serving a 17-year sentence for possession of ammunition.
Lott says Grant cooperated after his 27-year-old daughter, Dominique Grant, was arrested on charges of helping her father hide the missing teen’s cellphone.
Lott says the area where the girl’s body was found had been searched when Gabbiee disappeared last Aug. 18.
“It kills us because we failed to find her,” Lott said.
Gabbiee’s mother last saw her daughter at their home that August morning. Authorities have said Grant dated the mother, Elvia Swainson, and used a key he claimed to have lost to enter the family’s home and take the girl from her bed as she slept.
Blood was found in Gabbiee’s room, and authorities found Gabbiee’s blood on duct tape near Grant’s home. Lott has also said the roll that tape came from had DNA from both Grant and the girl — and that the mixed DNA was transferred to the roll at the same time.
Grant has already been sentenced to more than 17 years in prison on federal ammunition charges, and is appealing the verdict. Investigators found a box of shotgun shells and a box of .38 caliber bullets in Grant’s home while they were searching for clues in Gabbiee’s disappearance. He is awaiting trial in the kidnapping case.
It was not clear if Grant has a lawyer.