The man accused of kidnapping a missing Columbia teen a month ago was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury.
Freddie Grant, 52, of Elgin was indicted on one count of being a felon in possession of ammunition, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Columbia. The maximum penalty if convicted is 10 years in prison. However, that penalty could increase to 15 years if a judge determines Grant is an armed career criminal with three prior convictions for violent crimes or serious drug offenses, the U.S. Attorney said in the release.
The case is being prosecuted as part of the federal Project CeaseFire initiative, which aggressively prosecutes firearm cases, the release said.
Grant also has been charged by the Richland County Sheriff’s Department with kidnapping 15-year-old Gabrielle Swainson, a Ridge View High School student who disappeared Aug. 18 from her Northeast Richland home.
Grant remains in the Lexington County Detention Center on the federal charge. A detainer has been placed on him on the kidnapping charge so he would be transferred to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center if released from federal custody.
Grant was in a relationship with Gabrielle’s mother and had a key to the house, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott has said. Investigators found blood in Gabrielle’s bed and on used duct tape in Grant’s Elgin home and in an old junkyard near his house, the sheriff has reported.
While searching Grant’s home, investigators found .38-caliber bullets and shotgun shells. He was forbidden to have the ammunition because of a previous conviction for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, according to federal court records.
The sheriff’s department continues its search for Gabrielle, Lott said.
Reach Phillips at (803) 771-8307.