A 52-year-old man charged with kidnapping in the case of missing Richland County teen Gabrielle Swainson has been named as a person of interest in a third law enforcement investigation.
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 sheriffs 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.
Elgin Police Chief Harold Brown on Tuesday named Grant a person of interest in the disappearance of Adrianna Diana Laster, who was last seen around Labor Day 2011 when she was 28. Laster had lived for some time with Grant and he is believed to be the last person to have seen her, Brown said.
Meanwhile, the FBI and the Richland County Sheriffs Department continue to comb through evidence as they search for Gabrielle, a 15-year-old Ridge View High School student whose mother was involved with Grant.
On Wednesday, Lott asked anyone who may have employed Grant as a landscaper or handyman to call his office. Those who hired Grant may have information on his behaviors, tendencies, habits and places he frequented, Lott said.
Grant is being held in the Lexington County Detention Center on a federal charge for illegal possession of ammunition. He has been charged with kidnapping by the Richland County Sheriffs Department and is not cooperating, Lott said.
Federal agents on Sunday arrested Grant after investigators found a box of 12-gauge shotgun shells next to his bed and .38-caliber hollow point bullets elsewhere in his Elgin house, according to an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Columbia. The ammo was discovered during an Aug. 21 search of his home, three days after Gabrielle was reported missing.
Grant is not allowed to possess weapons or ammunition because he was convicted in 1992 for possession with intent to distribute cocaine, which earned him an eight-year prison sentence, although he did not serve the full term.
Lott has described Grant as a career criminal, and Grants rap sheet in Florida and South Carolina is extensive. Grants military service records also show that he was imprisoned from June 1980 to April 1981 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas on charges of aggravated assault, kidnapping and resisting apprehension.
Grant enlisted in the Army in 1971 and went through basic training at Fort Jackson to become a mechanic. He was assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea but twice was reported absent without leave before his stint in Leavenworth.
Grant also has been convicted of criminal domestic violence after Elgin police arrested him in April 2011 for assaulting Laster, said Brown, the Elgin chief. In that incident, Grant slammed Lasters head against the side of his brick house, caused a four-inch gash on her leg by dragging her on the ground and poured fuel on her, according to an Elgin police report.
Laster first was reported missing in September 2011, but an Elgin police officer found her staying with a woman who lived down the street from Grant. That was the last time anyone can confirm they saw Laster alive, Brown said.
But Laster was not reported missing again until March 2012, when the woman who has custody of her child called Elgin police asking them to check on her well being. She could not be found.
After Laster disappeared, multiple neighbors told police about incidents of abuse they had witnessed. Investigators sought to question Grant about Lasters disappearance, according to a police report. Elgin neighbors said they had not seen him recently, and officers had been unable to locate him at a family members home in Columbia, the report said.