Officials find remains of teen missing since August, 2012

Gabrielle Swainson (file photo)

RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) -- At a press conference on Thursday, police announced{} they believe they have found the remains of a 15-year-old girl who disappeared from her Richland County home in August of 2012. Police said the only suspect they had in the case, Freddie Grant, 53, led them to Gabbiee Swainson's remains on Thursday.

In the press conference, officials said he led them to the remains as part of a deal to spare his daughter from serving "serious jail time."

"The search for Gabbiee's over, and it's a sad day for Gabbiee's mom and family but also for this community," said Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott. "I don't want anybody to think that he did this out of his conscience where he felt bad for Gabbiee or Elvia or this community. He didn't do that. He did it solely because his daughter had been arrested and she was facing some very serious jail time. That's what we needed."

Eight days after Swainson went missing, Grant was arrested on federal ammunition charges. Investigators found a box of shotgun shells and a box of .38-caliber bullets in his home when they were searching for clues in the teen's disappearance.Grant's criminal record made it illegal for him to have guns or bullets, officials said.He was later charged with kidnapping in connection to the teen's disappearance after deputies said they found Swainson's blood on duct tape near Grant's home. In April, Grant was sentenced to more than 17 years in prison on the ammunition charges. He has not faced a trial for the kidnapping charge.

The area in Elgin where officials found what is believed to be Swainson's body on Thursday had been searched countless times by officials before.

"It kills us. It kills us. It kills us because we failed to find her. Even though we could not have saved her life when she was buried, it hurts all of us," Lott said.

"The most important thing is -- and what our focus was -- and I've said this from day one once we arrested him was to bring Gabbiee home, and that's what we're doing today. We're bringing her home. We're bringing her home to her mother."