Gabrielle Swainson, 15, disappeared from her home in the early hours of Saturday, August 18. At the time of her disappearance, her mother, Elvia Swainson, was working away from the home. Gabrielle was supposed to start her sophomore year of high school at Ridge View High School last week.
Gabrielle’s search is garnering nationwide attention. Many family, friends, and even strangers are taking to social networks to help search for Gabrielle, or Gabbiee, as she is known by most. Hashtags like #FindGabbiee have appeared on Twitter.
Enlisting the Help of the FBI
According to the State Newspaper, Richland County Sherriff Leon Lott along with the Sherriff’s Department is enlisting the help of the FBI. More than 40 county and federal law enforcement agents are now working on the case full time. According to Sherriff Lott, one of the agents working on the case is a behavioral scientist from the FBI’s famous psychological unit at Quantico, VA.
In regards to the FBI and the resources now being used to find Gabbiee, Sherriff Lott said, “This is a major case for them.”
The Richland County crime lab is reportedly one of the state’s best crime labs. Along with the FBI and crime lab, Sherriff Lott is using analysts and scientists to work full time on the case.
“We are on this 24/7 and have a command post set up coordinating things,” Sherriff Lott said.
Sherriff Lott also said that he has about 50 officials from his department and other departments on standby status to swing into action if needed.
On Sunday, August 26, four large black Suburban SUVs belonging to FBI agents were seen leaving the Swainson house late in the afternoon.
Law enforcement does not believe Gabbiee ran away. Friends and family state Gabbiee was a good student. She was studying guitar and voice. Gabbiee and her mother enjoyed going to church together. She also recently joined the Ridge View junior varsity cheerleading squad.
Gabbiee’s mother remains hopeful and vocal when it comes to finding her daughter. Ms. Swainson states she left her house that Saturday night to finish some work at her nearby office. When Ms. Swainson returned around 7 a.m. she heard Gabbiee’s alarm going off. Ms. Swainson realized Gabbiee disappeared when she entered her bedroom to turn off the alarm. Ms. Swainson found all of Gabbiee’s belongings in Gabbiee’s room, except for her iPhone. Law enforcement has declined to comment on what if any information police have received from her iPhone.
In a statement this past Sunday night, Sherriff Lott said, “We remain hopeful that we will find Gabbiee alive.”