Crime

Georgia woman jailed in mysterious 1991 Sabrina Long vanishing faces murder charges

Cold Case: ‘Come clean,’ mom of missing Sabrina Long urges accused kidnapper

The Oct. 18, 2018, arrest of Melinda McSwain in the 1991 disappearance of Sabrina Long from Macon, Ga., prompts Long’s mother to urge McSwain to “come clean” about what she knows about the 19-year-old’s vanishing 27 years ago.
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The Oct. 18, 2018, arrest of Melinda McSwain in the 1991 disappearance of Sabrina Long from Macon, Ga., prompts Long’s mother to urge McSwain to “come clean” about what she knows about the 19-year-old’s vanishing 27 years ago.

A former high school acquaintance of Sabrina Long was indicted Tuesday on murder charges in connection with Long’s disappearance, a puzzling case that has gone unsolved for decades.

The formal charges leveled on Tuesday against Melinda McSwain, 46, arrested in October for allegedly kidnapping Long, contend that McSwain abducted Long, “held her against her will and that the kidnapping resulted in Long’s injury and death.”

Even so, how she may have died appears to be unknown.

McSwain, who lives in Broxton in Coffee County in south Georgia, has been in the Bibb County jail since her Oct. 18 arrest. She and Long attended Southwest High School in Macon in the early 1990s.

Long, who was 19, had graduated in 1990. She was living with her now-late stepfather at a house on Ashland Drive below Rocky Creek Road when she went missing in the wee hours of Aug. 14, 1991.

Her body has never been found.

The authorities in recent months have divulged little publicly about why they think McSwain participated in Long’s vanishing. McSwain now faces charges of malice murder, felony murder and kidnapping with bodily injury.

It is unclear what may have prompted a break in the near-three-decade-old mystery surrounding Long’s disappearance.

However, a young agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation examined the cold case and is thought to have opened new avenues to pursue and led to McSwain’s arrest in October.

“Fresh eyes,” as one law enforcement source told The Telegraph on Tuesday.

Long’s mother, Sue Corley, said by phone Tuesday that she didn’t want to say much about the new developments.

“It’s like baby steps,” Corley said, “but you’ve got to take them.”

She added that she was thankful for the police and “everybody that’s prayed and been there through it with us.”

Joe Kovac Jr. covers crime and courts for The Telegraph with an eye for human-interest stories. A Warner Robins native, he joined the paper in 1991 after graduating from the University of Georgia.
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