Gabrielle Swenson, 15-year-old, Found Missing by her Mother from her Bed
Aired August 29, 2012 - 20:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HLN HOST: Breaking news tonight, live, South Carolina, a 15- year-old high school cheerleader, Ridges View High, asleep in her home bedroom when mom happens to check on her at 3:00 a.m. I have done that, have you? At 7:30, she`s gone. Gabbiee is gone, never seen again.
Bombshell tonight. Investigators are certain they have rock solid evidence, Gabbiee did not leave home willingly. Tonight, who snatched Gabbiee from her own bedroom. And tonight, where`s the cheerleader, 15- year-old Gabrielle?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the disappearance of that 15-year-old teenager, cheer leader named Gabrielle Swenson.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She has not found yet. We are still actively looking for her and hope to be able to return her home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If anybody does see her or know her whereabouts, I am pleading for you to come forward.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Mrs. Swenson said she came home from work, 15-year- old Gabrielle was not in her room.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn`t see her in her bed and I panicked, I froze.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gabrielle`s bed was empty, he was gone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She didn`t take her keys or her purse, the only thing missing is her cell phone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The phone is going straight to voicemail.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her purse, her wallet, her credit card, everything is still there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did this high school cheerleader vanish without a trace.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a mother`s worst fear.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want you to come home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hundreds of volunteers are going door to door.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She doesn`t believe there was anything going on that would have caused her daughter to run away.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No clue to how her daughter vanished or where she is.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bring my baby home, I believe she is still alive.
GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us.
Bombshell tonight, live from South Carolina. A 15-year-old high school cheerleader, Ridges View High, asleep in her own bedroom when her mom happens to check on her at 3:00 a.m. I done that in the middle of the night. I happen to wake up. I check on the twins.
7:30 a.m. This is just a couple of hours later, Gabbiee is gone, never to be seen again. Tonight, our sources are telling that inside the investigation that they are certain that they, the police have rock solid evidence Gabbiee did not leave home willingly. She was snatched out of her bed from her own bedroom.
Tonight, where`s the cheerleader? Where is 15-year-old Gabrielle? Now, to all of you parents listening tonight, you think it will never happen to you. I wake up also during the night. Again, when I check on John David and Lucy. They are fine. I look out on the back door. I check the windows. Everything is fine.
That is what this mother did at 3:00 a.m. She was awake. She happened to be up. She checked her child. She was sound asleep. Everything was fine. Can you imagine when mom goes in her room at 7:00 a.m., just a few hours later and the child is gone.
Now, a lot of people may think, oh, she ran away. She did not run away, because police are telling us tonight they have got rock solid evidence, Gabrielle was taken against her will out of her home there in suburban Columbia, South Carolina.
We are taking your calls. I`m going to go straight out to Faye Alexander. She`s the news director at WIS.
Faye, thank you for being with us. When she first realized her daughter was missing, what if anything, did she do?
FAYE ALEXANDER, NEW DIRECTOR, NEWS TALK 1320 WIS (via phone): Nancy, thank you for having me on. Of course as a mother, she went into panic mode. She started going to neighbors, asking if they had seen her and immediately contacted law enforcement.
GRACE: Faye Alexander, I don`t know if you`re a mom or not. But, I can`t imagine me running up and down the street, or knocking an apartment to apartment, saying hey, hey, have you seen John David and Lucy? I`m just imagining that scenario is making my chest hurt, Faye.
ALEXANDER: Exactly. I cannot even fathom the situation, so my heart absolutely breaks for this mother.
GRACE: You know, you just saw shots. They have been out canvassing the area with this flyer calling everybody running literally. The mom out running from door to door to door.
Faye Alexander, if we know, where`s the dad, the biological dad in this scenario?
ALEXANDER: Biological dad actually lived in Virginia, he`s not exactly involved with Gabbiee`s life, but we know that he made a trip from Virginia to Columbia, to cooperate with law enforcement. He`s made a statement saying that, you know, this is horrible for him, he wants Gabbiee home.
GRACE: Everyone, speaking of law enforcement, we are taking your calls live, in the hopes of any tip, any help in finding this 15-year-old cheerleader that was literally snatched out of her own bed.
In this case, everybody`s always second guessing, armchair quarterbacking the police. They have done everything right this time.
Joining me is Sheriff Leon Lott, he is the Richmond county sheriff.
Sheriff, thank you for being with us.
LEON LOTT, RICHLAND COUNTY SHERIFF: Thank you for having me on your show.
GRACE: You know Sheriff, a lot of times it`s hard for people to fathom, somebody that comes in your house, you know nothing about it, you are there. You don`t hear them, you don`t see them, you sleep through the night, you are burglarized, things are taken. In this case a child is missing. One reason, I didn`t find this so hard to believe that when I was living in inner city Atlanta. I was asleep upstairs. Somebody came downstairs in my apartment, and stole my bike. Road in through the kitchen window, locked kitchen window, got in across the sink and stole my bike while I was asleep upstairs. It does happen, sheriff.
Now, according to our sources, you believe Gabbiee is not a run away. You believe she was taken forcibly and I want to hear just that evidence. I don`t want to go off on a tangent, what is the evidence in the home that leads you to believe she was taken forcibly?
LOTT: Well, it`s totally out of her character. She left, she was taken, somebody took her -- she was kidnapped. She did not leave on her own. In fact that she was in her pajamas. She left her shoes. She didn`t take any personal items that were taken with her.
The only thing that is missing was the phone that her mother placed in her hand when she left. The mother actually was going to work and do some work and left her there for a period of time because Gabbiee`s mother is mother, someone who is rest of her life. And for her to go to work at this time of night, allowed her to be able to spend more time with Gabbiee in the daytime when she needed to be there with her. She left her, locked the house, made sure Gabbiee was OK, and then she returned, a parent`s worst nightmare, Gabbiee was not there.
GRACE: You know, sheriff Leon Lott is with us, everyone. He is also taking your calls. And will cooperate with your calls as much as he can without harming or jeopardizing the investigation.
That`s one thing that a lot of people have been asking, sheriff, I know, that for instance, when the twins go to sleep, I work. I work when they were asleep. I do everything around the house when they`re asleep, so I don`t rob them and myself of our time together. Now this mom, what did she do for a living, sheriff?
LOTT: She worked for blue cross blue shield and he was processing claims, and for her to go in, again, was nothing abnormal, that`s what she would do, as a concerned mother, to spend time with her daughter. She would take those hours when the daughter would be asleep to go to work, to get something done. So, she wouldn`t have to be gone in the daytime.
So, this was something that she had done in the past, and she always made sure that Gabbiee was there. Gabbiee was safe. Gabbiee had a phone, in case there`s an emergency. The house was locked and she left. And when she came back Gabbiee was gone. There was no force entry into the house, but, Gabbiee was missing.
And as I stated previously, as any parent would be, she went frantic. She started calling family friends, just looking for her in the community and then she realized that Gabbiee was gone and she called law enforcement and got us involved at that point.
GRACE: Unleash the lawyers, Mickey Sherman, Randy Kessler. I also want to bring in Wendy Walsh, psychologist.
Guys, this is not a legal question yet. Mickey, you`re a father, OK. Can you even imagine, I don`t know what you went through, raising your children, because they`re older than mine are, mine are only 4 1/2 right now, but with the hours lawyers work, I have to turn somersaults to work at night while they`re asleep. Can you imagine this mom routinely goes in, she works at blue cross, blue shield, She has a job for quite a while, Mickey. She`ll go in, in the middle of the night after she gets Gabbiee to sleep and process files, goes to paperwork. All those claims people file, she goes in and processes them in the middle of the night so she will be there when Gabbiee gets home from school. Can you imagine that, Mickey?
MICKEY SHERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Not only is she blameless, she`s done everything right plus some. And this is a model mother , a model worker, someone whose work harder for the best effort of her daughter. And to have this happened is amazing.
What I don`t understand though, and I`m not trying to be the defense guy necessarily here is, how do you reconcile the fact that there`s no proof of anybody breaking an evidence of tumult in the building yet the law enforcement folks feel like it`s not a voluntary absenteeism of this young lady.
GRACE: Well, this is what I know, Mick. And that was one of my first question, too. I said was there a break n was there forced entry, was there blood on the screen, was there scrapple? They`re not revealing what they see in the home. But they are telling me point blank, Mickey Sherman, that they have rock solid evidence that she was forced out of the home wearing her pajamas.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe she is still alive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hundreds of volunteers are going door to door.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to bring my baby home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To make sure they recognize and remember this face of missing 15-year-old Gabrielle Swenson.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At this point, nothing. The phone is going to straight to voicemail.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The girl whose mother has no clue how her daughter vanished or where she is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her cell phone was gone, but more alarming, her purse and wallet were left behind suggesting her disappearance was not voluntary.
It`s a mother`s worst fear, Elva Swenson says she came home from work on Saturday for her 15-year-old daughter Gabrielle was not in her room. With the help of school and family in town helped with the search, Swenson has now turn to the public for help. A search party posted flyers around their northeast Columbia neighborhood, for signs of Gabbiee.
Swenson describes her daughter as a good student, a cheerleader at Ridgeview high school. She doesn`t think there was anything going on that would cause her daughter to run away. While friends and families search the street, others have turned to social media sites like face book and twitter using the #findGabbiee, hoping that the large online communities will turn out clues.
But Ridgeview starting school is wait and hopes for worst fears of the mother who soon be put to rest so she can wrap her arms around her daughter.
GRACE: Can you imagine, you happen to wake up. You check your child at 3:00 a.m., everything`s fine, she`s asleep, dead to the world. 7:00 a.m., she`s gone. Your child is gone.
We are taking your calls, out to Pete in Orlando. Hi, Pete, what`s your question?
PETE, CALLER, ORLANDO: Hey, Nancy, I just want to tell you, something doesn`t smell right. I mean, why would a mom go to work at 3:30 a.m. in the morning? I would never leave my baby girl alone, I don`t care how, something doesn`t seem right.
GRACE: OK. Hold Pete in Orlando, you know, Pete, everybody may not have it as good as you, all right? I don`t like leaving my children at night. All right, to come and anchor, I don`t like that. But that is my job. That`s what`s going to put them through school, OK?
So everybody may not have a nine to five, that`s just the way it is. My father worked the night trick as he called it, the night shift. He was gone practically every night. And it`s not like that.
And I want to go out to Victoria Taft, talk show host, joining me from KTAN.
Victoria, not everybody is so lucky to have a 9:00 to 5:00, so am I going I going to indict a woman because she goes to work in the middle of the night so she can spend the daytime hours with her child. Now, I`m not faulting Pete in Orlando.
Pete, don`t get me wrong because I asked the same question to start with. Go ahead, Victoria.
VICTORIA TAFT, RADIO SHOW HOST: Well, it is an amazing that with you, any number of things to accommodate our children`s schedule. And in this case, there`s every reason to believe that the mother is telling the truth. And indeed, she woke her daughter up, placed her own cell phone, the child`s cell phone back in her hand, because as the good mother that she is, she did not allow her child to text after 8:30 at night.
So because she was leaving, to be able to do some paper work that she was not able to accomplish during her regular eight-hour day, she left the cell phone in her daughter`s hand, text me if you need anything, honey, and she went to work. And when she --
GRACE: We are taking your - I`m sorry. I`m sorry, Victoria. I thought you were through.
Out to Janet in Florida. Hi, Janet, what`s your question?
JANET, CALLER, FLORIDA: Hi, Nancy, I love your show.
GRACE: Thank you.
JANET: I was wondering, are there any surveillance cameras in the neighborhood and have they checked her social media? I mean, she probably has all of her facebook and twitter.
GRACE: You know, good idea. Sheriff Leon Lott is with us. He is the elected sheriff there, and he is also is taking your call in the search for 15-year-old cheerleader who literarily vanishes out of her bed. She was snatched from her home. And they are convincing me that is what happened.
Sheriff, can you answer that question?
LOTT: Right, the first one I would like to though, is the previous caller about something being wrong with Gabbiee`s mother leaving. She`s a single parent and she wanted to spent all the time she could with her daughter and I applaud her for going in, in the middle of the night to do some work to make sure her daughter is OK when she left, so she could spend time with her.
So there`s nothing abnormal or fishy or mad about that whatsoever. As far as we -- we have checked surveillance cameras, social media, we deviled into Gabbiee`s life completely. And I checked everything that you can imagine to check.
If this had been a very intense investigation, we didn`t just do it ourselves, we asked for help. The FBI child`s abduction and rapid deployment team, was quickly sent to us. We have personnel, equipment, the technology, we pulled it all in here, we wanted to make sure that we had anything that we need.
GRACE: Hey, sheriff, let me ask you a question, we`re getting a ton of e- mails right now. We`re showing a full screen showing her PJs, her iphone, but also some bedroom shoes, some black and white slip ones. Did she leave behind or does she take those with her?
LOTT: She left all behind. She did not have any single item she left.
GRACE: So, she lays with nothing but her PJs, her iphone. She didn`t even have any shoes on. And isn`t it true Sheriff Leon Lott that the mom had cooperated fully, correct?
LOTT: So, her mother is a great mother. I mean, my heart goes out to her so much, to watch her doing this whole problem that we have had here trying to find Gabbiee, and her mother`s just been great. She`s worked with us. She`s went beyond the call that most parents would probably do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now I can`t even believe that I`m going through this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A cheerleader at Ridgeview High school. Elva Swenson says she came home from work and her 15-year-old Gabrielle was not in her room.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I immediately called her phone and called and it rang, and rang, no answer and it just went straight to voicemail.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did 15-year-ol, Gabrielle Swenson her daughter seemingly disappear without a trace?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: St night, I can`t even sleep. I am driving around in my car yelling her name out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Drives in the summit are getting stopped for this flyer of a girl whose mother has no clue how her daughter vanished or where she is. Elva Swenson says, she came home from work around 7:00 tomorrow morning to Gabbiee`s alarm clock going off, but no Gabbiee. She says her daughter would never run away from home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: We are taking your calls. There are a lot of naysayers. But this child was absolutely snatched out of her bedroom.
Out to the lines, Pam, North Dakota. Hi, dear. What`s your question?
PAM, CALLER, NORTH DAKOTA: Hi, Nancy. I have been following the story on social media. I`m so happy you`re covering this on your show, you could really make a difference. I really want to know where her father is.
GRACE: You know, I think the father is living out of state.
Out to Ellie Jostad, what do we know about the dad? And when we say out of state? How far away is he? Is he within driving distance?
ELLIE JOSTAD, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER (via phone): Yes, Nancy. He`s within driving distance. We understand that the parents are divorced. The father, it`s not clear how much involvement he has in the life of Gabrielle, but he lives in Virginia. He has traveled there since her disappearance.
BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the mystery involving that 15-year-old cheerleader, Gabrielle Swenson.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re still actively looking for her, and hoping to be able to return her home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If anybody does see her or know her whereabouts, I am pleading for them to come forward.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Elva Swenson says she came home work, her 15-year-old daughter Gabrielle was not in her room.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn`t see in her bed. And I panicked, I roach.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gabrielle`s bed was empty, she was gone.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: She didn`t take her keys, or her purse, the only thing missing is her cell phone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The phone is going straight to voicemail.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything in her purse, like her wallet, her credit cards, everything is still there.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Why did this high school cheerleader vanished without a trace?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: It`s a mother`s worst fear.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want you to come home.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Hundreds of volunteers are going door to door.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY GRACE, HLN HOST: I am hearing in my ear right now, we are getting a development regarding a neighbor or a family friend that has been extremely uncooperative with police.
Ellie, what -- Ellie, what are we hearing about the neighbor, uncooperative with police?
ELLIE JOSTAD, NANCY GRACE CHIEF EDITORIAL PRODUCER: Right, Nancy. This is actually a family friend, his name is Freddie Grant. Police say that he first aroused suspicion when they attempted to contact him and question him just as someone who`s acquainted with the family and they said he was immediately, from the outset, uncooperative with police. That of course caused them to look into him a little further. They say now that they do have evidence that he may have entered the home that morning.
GRACE: Unleash the lawyers, Becca Crumrine, Mickey Sherman, Randy Kessler.
So if that -- you know, you always tell me, Kessler. You don`t have to talk to police, you don`t have to cooperate, but here, this is a real red flag to police when a family friend is suddenly uncooperative, he refused to talk to police. He refused to help them in any way, that`s what I`m hearing.
RANDY KESSLER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, right, he`s not talking -- hopefully he`s talking to a lawyer. And if he does talk to a lawyer, the lawyer is going to say, if you`re innocent, let`s help figure out what happened. There are a lot of questions before he starts talking to police. If they`re going to accuse him, he might be guilty, he might not be guilty. But one thing you can do is open your mouth and confirm --
GRACE: OK. Look, Kessler, all we know right now is he`s so uncooperative, they`re actually taking him into custody.
Because, Becca Crumrine, why would an innocent neighbor act out in such a way when they`re just being questioned about, hey, did you hear anything, did you see anything, and nuts up on them?
GRACE: Right there it raises a red flag, right in front of the bull.
BECCA CRUMRINE, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: It simply doesn`t make any sense. That doesn`t -- that doesn`t add up. There`s a child that`s missing clearly he`s -- if he`s a family friend, if he`s been in the neighborhood, clearly he should tell them what`s going on regardless of whether he`s lawyered up or not.
GRACE: Out to the lines, William, Ohio. Hi, William. What`s your question?
WILLIAM, CALLER FROM OHIO: Hi, Nancy. I just wanted to say, first of all, I loved you on "Dancing with the Stars" and I really wish you were on the all-star show.
GRACE: Thank you. Thank you very much. I`m proud to say I did get invited to do the Vegas show. The twins did not want to go the Vegas.
What`s your question about this case?
WILLIAM: Have investigators looked for sex offenders in the neighborhood?
GRACE: Excellent question. I want to go to Sheriff Leon Lott, elected sheriff.
Sheriff, I know the neighbor or the family friend is overshadowing everything else right now. But I assume you guys did look at the sex offender registry in that neighborhood, right, Sheriff?
SHERIFF LEON LOTT, RICHLAND COUNTY SHERIFF`S DEPARTMENT: That`s correct. That`s one of the first things that we looked at, or anyone else that has a criminal background in that immediate area.
GRACE: Sheriff, if you can divulge this, what did this guy do when you first approached him?
LOTT: Asked for an attorney as soon as we asked if he knew anything about Gabbie, he immediately said, I`m not talking, I want to speak to an attorney.
GRACE: That`s not right.
LOTT: That`s just not something you would expect from someone who`s a family friend.
GRACE: Now how is he connected to the family? What`s the relationship?
LOTT: He is an acquaintance of Gabbie`s mother, he actually does yard work for them and had cut their grass that Friday afternoon.
GRACE: Is he a boyfriend?
LOTT: No, acquaintance, she`s not saying he`s a boyfriend. He`s an acquaintance and a family friend. He knew Gabbie also.
GRACE: So he was cutting the grass, what the day before? Is that what you said?
LOTT: Right. Friday evening and she went missing on -- early that Saturday morning. That late afternoon on Friday he was there at the house and then was doing yard work.
GRACE: Would he have had a key, Sheriff?
LOTT: We haven`t determined that at this point. If he had a key or if he ever got access to a key.
GRACE: Or would he have known, Sheriff, where like if they had an extra key where it was hidden?
LOTT: Again, we haven`t determined how he entered the house.
GRACE: Sheriff, we`re also hearing reports that blood has been found on duct tape. What --
LOTT: That`s correct.
GRACE: What was -- where was the duct tape?
LOTT: The duct tape was found at Mr. Grant`s house and it has Gabbie`s blood, her DNA has been matched and we have her DNA in some other places inside his residence, along with tracking the cell phone. We have been able to place the cell phone leading Gabbie`s house and going to Mr. Grant`s house.
GRACE: Everyone, we are just getting information in that duct tape has been found in the -- I guess I`m just going to say, the yard guy`s home. He had been cutting the grass for Gabbie`s mom that Friday afternoon. That Friday night, really it`s like 3:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, she`s OK, she`s in her bed, 7:00 a.m., she`s gone.
Out to the lines, Mel in Florida, hi, Mel, what`s your question?
MEL, CALLER FROM FLORIDA: Hi, Nancy. I`m wondering, does this guy have any pre --crimes that he committed before with sex with children? I mean she`s only 15 years old. And my second question is, do you think she could still be alive?
GRACE: I think that she absolutely could still be alive, but I believe just in my anecdotal experience, not based on statistics, that if they have found duct tape with blood on it, that she is dead.
Now you would think -- out to Wendy Walsh, psychologist, a family friend would not kill the girl, but if he is faced with a live witness, I could see him killing, just so there wouldn`t be a witness.
WENDY WALSH, PH.D., PSYCHOLOGIST AND CO-HOST OF "THE DOCTORS": Yes, we`re talking about a career criminal here, Nancy. This is a guy with a long record of violent crimes, of drug possession, drug dealing. This is a guy who knows the ins and outs of the legal system and the penal system. So he`s going to do what he can to keep out of jail again, and that means hiding evidence like a body.
GRACE: To Dr. Gwenn O`Keefe, physician joining me out of Boston.
Dr. O`Keefe, blood on a duct tape. What else can we learn?
DR. GWENN O`KEEFE, M.D., PEDIATRICIAN, FOUNDER & CEO, PEDIATRICSNOW.COM: Well, from the duct tape alone, Nancy, we might be able to learn where it was from, if it was from, you know, her private parts, for example, there might be, you know, evidence of semen or vaginal fluid.
We might be able to learn if she struggled or if he was, we might find, you know, evidence of his DNA in her DNA, and we might be able to just, you know, learn where it occurred. Perhaps there were evidence of her bedroom fibers, for example. But we might not learn a lot either, so all it does is raise a lot of questions at this point.
GRACE: Well, another -- you just triggered something in my mind, Dr. Gwenn O`Keefe.
To Lisa Lockwood, former police detective, author of "Undercover Angel," this is leading me to another scenario, maybe this is explaining why they don`t find evidence of a struggle, if this is a family friend and you say to a 15-year-old, look, your mom`s had a car crash, come with me right now, don`t get your stuff, we got to go right now, I could see her going willingly and getting in his car. What about that, Lockwood?
LISA LOCKWOOD, FORMER POLICE DETECTIVE: Exactly, because that`s when the police had determined obviously when they got to the scene, that it wasn`t forcible, that there wasn`t a scuffle, there wasn`t overturned furniture, all the normal things that you would look with someone enters a home and attempts a kidnapping or some kind of other grave danger that they plan on committing on the scene.
So therefore you have an individual who`s a friend of the family, she -- exactly what you said, she probably was enticed from the home and then taken to his residence and we`re starting to find out what may have happened at that point.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: It`s a mother`s worst fear. Elva Swenson says she same home from work on Saturday but her 15-year-old daughter Gabrielle was not in her room.
With a house full of family in town to help with the search, Swenson has not turned to the public for help. And a search party posted flyers around their northeast Columbia neighborhood for signs of Gabbie.
Swenson describes her daughter as a good student, a cheerleader at Ridgeview High School. She doesn`t believe there was anything going on that would have caused her daughter to run away. While friends and family search the streets, others have turned to social media sites like Faebook and Twitter using the hash tag, findgabbie, hoping that the large online communities will turn up clues.
With Ridgeview starting school, Miss Swenson hopes her worst fears as a mother will soon be put to rest so she can wrap her arms around her daughter.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Drivers in the summit are getting stopped for this flyer of a girl whose mother has no clue how her daughter vanished or where she is.
Elva Swenson says she came home from work around 7:00 Saturday morning to Gabbie`s alarm clock going off. But no Gabbie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: We are taking your calls. A 15-year-old girl is sound asleep. She`s a cheerleader there at Ridgeview High. Her mom happened to be up, checks on her, everything`s fine, the house is quiet. 7:00 a.m., her little girl is gone.
In the last moments, we are learning that a family friend is now under intense questioning. This man, Freddie Grant, was cutting their grass, he had done yard work for them in the past. Cutting their grass that Friday afternoon, it was around 3:00 a.m. that evening, that night. Gabbie was fine, Gabrielle asleep, soundly in her bed, 7:00 a.m., she`s gone.
Out to the lines, out to Evan, hi, Evan, what`s your question?
EVAN, CALLER FROM KENTUCKY: Hey, Nancy, this story just scares the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of me. I mean I`ve got a 13-year-old daughter who I have people cutting my lawn who could just come in. I mean what can we do to protect ourselves? I mean was this guy in love with her? Was this someone who had access to the house? I mean how do --
GRACE: Well, I can tell you this, Evan in Kentucky, there was no forced entry, that says to me, and I`m on the outside looking in, that this guy, if he`s the right guy, he`s under questioning right now, knew where the spare key was -- another thing, Evan, you can get a home alarm system installed for like $99 that covers your door and your windows. It costs more to be monitored by police or by an agency, but that sets off an alarm when someone opens one of those doors.
You know, when I`m at home with the twins, I have the alarm on. Absolutely have the alarm on, even if I`m there. Those are two ideas. But there are so many more. For instance, surveillance cameras, when people see a surveillance camera whether it`s running or not, and I advise that it does run, that in itself prevents break-ins.
Also when intruders see a sign like a security sign or a sticker on your windows, that prevents break-ins much kidnaps. And another thing now that you asked, Evan in Kentucky. Children must be schooled, teenagers must be schooled about what to do if they`re asked to leave, or to go with someone. Now in this case, to Sheriff Leon Lott, he is the elected sheriff in Richland County, who`s leading this investigation.
The girl, Gabbie, the little cheerleader, she know this is guy, right? So is there a chance she would have trusted him if he said look, your mom`s had a car crash, we`ve got to go right now. She sent me over here to get you.
LOTT: That`s a possibility, but we don`t think -- we think that he went in and forced her. That we think he forcibly kidnapped and abducted her.
GRACE: Why is it, Sheriff, that you think that?
LOTT: Just some of the physical evidence, forensic evidence that we`ve been able to find. And also his history. Once we delved into his history, it`s been -- it`s been scary to find out what kind of monster he`s been for many, many years.
GRACE: What is his criminal history, Sheriff?
LOTT: He served time for kidnapping, numerous assaults, he has violence toward women, numerous drug charges, he`s just an overall bad guy and this is someone that if a mother knew what his background was, you would never have someone like that around your child.
GRACE: Liz, look at those people, look at those family and friends out in the street. Did you see that? They`re out in the street, stopping traffic. Asking people if they have seen Gabbie.
Can you imagine being out in the street, flagging down cars, looking for your child? Stopping cars as they`re going by, going look, look, look for this girl, look for my girl.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now I can`t even believe I`m going through this. I cannot believe I`m going through this right now. Just imagine your child going missing and you know nothing about how that happened. Just imagine that. No, I did not expect to start school like this, did not expect to even start my weekend like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: OK, the updates are coming fast and furious. There is now -- and I`m reading the wire to you right now. It`s actually an arrest. This guy is no longer just being questioned. There is an arrest.
Ellie, I was just speaking to Sheriff Leon Lott about this guy`s criminal history. Give me in detail what do we know.
JOSTAD: Well, Nancy, he`s got a record going back to 1988, as Sheriff Lott said, he`s got charges for aggravated assault, numerous drug and drug trafficking charges. I`m talking cocaine, crack cocaine charges, selling and trafficking those drugs. He`s also got domestic violence charges. Most recently, just last year, just last summer, he`s got a bunch of other just sort of garden variety charges.
As long as my arm here, you know, just for things like shoplifting, not paying child support, driving under suspended license. But obviously the most serious charges on there and Sheriff Lott says he`s also been convicted of kidnapping. But we also see these aggravated assault charges, resisting police and the domestic violence.
GRACE: You know, out to you, Mickey, you always say that, OK, because they`ve got a shoplifting or a DUI, that doesn`t mean -- that`s no indication of violent crime. A lot of people disagree with you and say, you graduate to violent crime. This guy actually has a violent crime already in that history.
MICKEY SHERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY, AUTHOR OF "HOW CAN YOU DEFEND THOSE PEOPLE?": And I have to concede that. Usually everyone thinks that the guy has got a criminal record for something he`s going to launch into another type of crime. Here apparently he has an actual pedigree for this type of a crime.
And one thing I want to mention is, there`s no discussions going on with police with this guy right now. Once he said, I want to talk to lawyer, end of discussion. That`s it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I called as soon as I realized or was trying to get my senses together as far as where she was. I immediately grabbed the phone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Sheriff Leon Lott, I`m getting inundated, overwhelmed, with calls that tipping our show off, that the mom, Gabbie`s mom, and this guy have been dating for some time. Is that true?
LOTT: That relationship hasn`t been described that way to us. It`s more of an acquaintance than it was a girlfriend and boyfriend. Family friend and acquaintance.
GRACE: And you know, another thing, out to the lawyers, Becca Crumrine, Mickey Sherman, Randy Kessler. I mean the reality is, whether she had dated him or not doesn`t make any difference to me, except, Randy Kessler, in my mind, if they ever had dated, it would make it even worse, not for the mothers. But for him. Because that means she trusted him even more.
LOTT: Right. And what do you do to stop that? I mean are we going to get to the point where you do a background check on your new boyfriend or girlfriend?
LOTT: Maybe so. It`s easy to do. Maybe so. I mean as far as this guy -- I mean his has got arrows against him. He`s got --
GRACE: He`s got what?
LOTT: He`s got to speak talking to the police and I`m glad he stopped.
GRACE: OK. Update, he hasn`t been talking to police. That`s what flagged him as a suspicious to start with.
Out to the lines. Out to Jason. Hi, Jason, what`s your question?
JASON, CALLER: Hi, Nancy. I`m hoping that she`s found soon.
GRACE: Me too.
CALLER: And my question is has any of the family members or maybe friends taking a polygraph.
GRACE: Good question. To Faye Alexander, news director at WIS, any polygraphs? Satellite down?
Ellie, any polygraphs?
JOSTAD: Not that we know of, Nancy.
GRACE: Everyone, tip line, 1-888-CRIME-SC. There is a $6,000 reward as the search for Gabbie goes on.