Although African Americans make up just 13 percent of the U.S. population, we account for 33 percent of the missing in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s database. Cases involving African Americans also tend to receive less media coverage than missing Whites, with missing men of color getting even less attention.
NewsOne has partnered with the Black and Missing Foundation and TV One to focus on the crisis of missing African Americans.
To be a part of the solution, NewsOne will profile a missing person weekly and provide tips about how to keep your loved ones safe and what to do if someone goes missing, while TV One‘s newest show, “Find Our Missing,” hosted by award-winning actress S. Epatha Merkerson, tells these stories in visual form.
Gabrielle Chloe Swainson
Case Type: Endangered
Date of Birth: June 26, 1997
Missing Date: August 18, 2012
Age Now: 15
Missing City: Columbia
Missing State: South Carolina
Case Number: 1208014318
Hair Color: Black
Hair Length: Shoulder length
Eye Color: Brown
Wear Glasses or Contacts: No
Location Last Seen: Sleeping in her bed.
Circumstances of Disappearance: Gabrielle’s mother, Elvia Swainson, went to work at 3:30 a.m. and returned at 7:30 a.m. to find the clock alarm going off. Elvia Swainson yelled to wake her daughter up but got no answer. When she went upstairs to her daughter’s bedroom, Gabrielle was missing and the alarm clock, which had gone off at 5:25 a.m., was still ringing.
“I grabbed my phone and started calling her number. The number rang a couple of times then it stopped,” Swainson told ABC News.
Chandra Cleveland-Jennings, a private investigator hired by the Swainson family, said the teen has no history of running away from home.
“Her and her mom are best friends. They are like Frick and Frack,” Cleveland-Jennings told NewsOne in an interview. “Her mom doesn’t even let her walk to her friend’s house alone, which is two blocks away.”
Nothing had been taken from Gabrielle’s room, none of her clothes nor shoes were missing, and her pocketbook (including her wallet and credit card) was also left behind. Police have been unable to locate a signal on the girl’s cell phone. There was also no sign of forced entry or signs of struggle. The Richland County Sheriff’s Office now believes Gabrielle may have been abducted.
“She’s a girly girly. She doesn’t even leave the house in pajamas or head rag. Nothing is missing in the room,” said Cleveland-Jennings.
Gabrielle’s mother has mounted a search for her daughter. To date, the leads have turned out to be dead ends.
“We are following every lead and trying to get fliers out. We follow up on every lead,” said Cleveland-Jennings.
The day Gabrielle went missing, Swainson and her daughter were scheduled to go school shopping so that the teen could start her sophomore year of high school. Gabrielle had just made the cheerleading squad and was excited about returning to school. Now Swainson just wants her daughter back.
“She’s not doing good at all. She’s a mess because her only daughter, her best friend is missing,” said Cleveland-Jennings.
Watch Gabrielle’s story here:
Last Seen Wearing: Black tank top, with pink and black pajama pants, Adidas sandals and a do-rag that was black and pink.
Identifying Marks or Characteristics: Braces.
If you have information regarding the whereabouts of Gabrielle Chloe Swainson, please contact the Richland County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 576-3187 or the Black and Missing Foundation’s confidential Tip Line.