Online Petition Seeks Answers in Swainson Case

Signatures target sheriff and suspect


By Monique Williams

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- An online petition is circulating asking that suspected kidnapper in the Gabbiee Swainson case, Freddie Grant, start talking. Gabbiee's mother, the police and a legal analyst speak out on whether signatures on a a piece of paper can get the answers an entire community wants to hear.

Elvia Swainson, mother of missing Midlands teenager Gabrielle Swainson, was the 85th person to sign an online petition to find her daughter. The teenager was taken from her Northeast Columbia home August 18th.

But even Elvia has doubts about this latest effort to locate her child.

"Many people want to do something, trying to help and I appreciate that. I just don't know how effective it is," said Elvia Swainson.

The petition, called 'Questioning Freddie Grant for the kidnapping of Gabbiee Swainson,' was started by a 12-year old girl who said if she went missing she would want people to help and she would want the person suspected of the crime to talk.

The1000-signature goal is more than half way met. Meanwhile, suspected kidnapper, Freddie Grant, remains silent about the case, even though authorities say they located Gabbie Swainson's DNA and other evidence possibly linking him to the crime at his Elgin home.
Richland County law enforcement says every little bit of information helps. However, legal analyst and attorney, Robert Rikard, says such a petition is a great public effort, but legally has no standing.

"It can't force the prosecution to do anything, police or a criminal defendant to do or not do anything."

Nevertheless, Elvia Swainson, still believes.

"I know God can do anything."

Meanwhile, the community wide search efforts in the case will spill over into the new year. Elvia Swainson says fundraiser to assist in locating the missing teenager has been scheduled for January 8th a Cici's Pizza at the Village at Sandhill in Northeast Columbia from 5:00pm to 8:00pm. A percentage of the proceeds will go towards the missing child fund in Gabbiee's name.

Elvia Swainson say she's hoping her daughter will be home before then.

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