Arrest made in Sabrina Long case 27 years after Macon teen vanished

Melinda McSwain
Melinda McSwain

After the GBI turned up the heat on a missing person cold case, an arrest has been made 27 years later.

Sabrina Long, a 19-year-old Southwest High School graduate, was last seen Aug. 14, 1991, at her stepfather’s house in south Macon’s Bloomfield neighborhood.

Thursday, the GBI’s investigative office in Perry arrested Melinda McSwain, 46, of the south Georgia town of Broxton, and charged her with kidnapping.

“The GBI has a standing policy that requires all investigative case files, including the old unsolved cases sometimes referred to as ‘cold cases,’ to be reviewed several times each year,” a GBI news release stated.

Special Agent at the Perry office Madison Holland conducted multiple interviews and secured search warrants that uncovered enough probable cause to arrest McSwain for kidnapping, GBI Special Agent in Charge J.T. Ricketson said.

No further information was immediately released about her connection to Long or the missing woman’s whereabouts.

“The hopes are to try to locate Sabrina,” Ricketson said. “We’re on the right track. We get a lot of lucky breaks, but a lot of this was really generated by good investigative work.”

McSwain was arrested on an active warrant by Mercer University police on campus at about 7 p.m. Thursday.

Over the years, Long’s family has told The Telegraph they suspected multiple people were involved in the blue-eyed, brunette woman’s disappearance.

Bibb County sheriff’s investigators who originally handled the case said it was “like the earth opened up,” and she slipped into it.

Long, who cut packaging labels at the Bibb Company, never picked up her last paycheck, which helped raise the suspicion of foul play.

Long’s mother got a call from her daughter the night before she disappeared.

The teen’s boyfriend had just dropped her off before midnight, and another good friend called and asked her to come over to his house, her mother told The Telegraph.

She asked her mother to call if she didn’t hear from her in 30 minutes.

Long left behind her truck, purse and makeup.

“She goes nowhere without her makeup,” her mother told The Telegraph.

A neighbor living across the street from Long heard a few muffled thumps at about 1:30 a.m. Aug. 14, 1991, and wondered if it was Long trying to get away from an attacker.

In April 1992, the GBI was called to assist Bibb County in the search for clues about what happened to Long.

The GBI continues its ongoing work on this now “very active” case, the release stated.

More developments are expected.

Anyone with information about Long’s disappearance is urged to call the Perry GBI office at 478-987-4545 or phone the tip line at 800-597-8477.

Information from The Telegraph archives contributed to this report.

GBI forensic artist Kelly Lawson creates facial reconstructions for unidentified dead people found in Georgia.