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.
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Freddie Grant (pictured bottom), the man arrested for the kidnapping of 15-year-old cheerleader Gabrielle Swainson (pictured right) has been named by police as a person of interest in two other law enforcement investigations.
Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews said Freddie Grant is a person of interest in an unsolved homicide from October 2011. The victim in that case is Daniel Lee Wood, a 36-year-old man who was shot and killed in the front yard of a home in Lugoff. Crack cocaine was found at the scene, according to Kershaw County sheriff’s report.
We have an unsolved homicide from the past year, and as a result of law enforcement looking for Gabrielle Swainson, we think Freddie Grant has now become a person of interest in our case, Matthews said. He would not say how the two men might have known each other.
Grant is also a person of interest in the disappearance of Adriana Laster, who lived with him in Elgin for more than a year. Elgin Police say the woman disappeared in September 2011 but was not reported missing until March 2012 by her grandmother.
Grant was convicted of a misdemeanor in an April 2011 charge of criminal domestic violence against Laster. Grant paid a fine for the charge.
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott has called Grant a “career criminal” and a “monster,” after it was disclosed that he helped search for Swainson hours after the girl went missing.
Swainson went missing on Aug. 18th, after her mother left her sleeping at their home at 3 a.m. to go to work. When she returned at 7 a.m., the teen was missing. There were no signs of forced entry and the only item missing was her phone.
Police began interviewing family members and friends and Grant immediately referred police to his lawyer. That led police to suspect that he may have been involved with the abduction. Grant had mowed the Swainson’s lawn the day before, and Grant’s friends say he was involved in a relationship with Swainson’s mother, the Charlotte Observer reported.
Grant reportedly put his cell number on one of the early missing persons fliers and participated in searches for the girl, according to police.
“It makes me sick to my stomach to know that he was part of that,” Lott said
Later, Gabrielle Swainson’s cell phone signal was traced to Grant’s home.
Lott said police are operating under the assumption and hope that Swainson is still alive.
“I’m appealing to him, monster that he is, for God’s sake, to tell us where she’s at,” Lott said last week.
Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Gabrielle Chloe Swainson, please contact the Richland County Sheriff’s Office at (803) 576-3187, CrimeStoppers at 1-888-Crime-SC or the Black and Missing Foundation’s confidential Tip Line.