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EXCLUSIVE: Family hopes public will help find grandma's killer

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TYLER (KYTX) - The FBI has now joined the search for the man accused of kidnapping and killing 83-year-old Leona Swafford from Arlington. 

Swafford's granddaughter who lives in East Texas, sat down with CBS 19 to talk about her grandmother, who she calls vibrant and strong.

Lisa Curry and her husband Kevin say their huge tight knit family know as "Granny." They all sit heartbroken, praying that the person or people behind this terrible crime, will be caught soon.

The Currys live in Tyler now, but Lisa spent the first 36 years of her life in Arlington, right around the corner from her grandmother.

"About a mile," Lisa says. "That's home. Her house was home."

The couple still can't believe the heart of their big, loving family, was taken so tragically.

"Granny was the rock of the family," Kevin says. "She was the cornerstone. A lot of the family events are centered around her."

They never expected the next family gathering centered around Granny, would be one of pain and heartbreak.

Arlington Police say the suspect, which police have sketched in a composite, carjacked and attacked Swafford in her own driveway. Police say a neighbor tried to intervene but was overpowered, and that Swafford died as the suspect kidnapped her.

Police say she suffered from head trauma but don't know if that caused her death. The attacker then ran, leaving Swafford and the car behind.

"He took a vibrant life away," Lisa says.

The Currys say their granny may have been 83, but she was a strong, enthusiastic, and independent woman.

"She wasn't frail emotionally, she wasn't frail mentally, she was very very smart. So we're not talking about this frail old lady who doesn't think well," Lisa says.

To the Currys, that means that this really could happen to anyone.

"I think that's what makes everybody scared," Lisa says. "It doesn't matter what neighborhood you live in, I mean it just doesn't matter. "

That's why they say it's important the person or people involved, are caught immediately.

"For the safety of other people in our community, he needs to be off the streets," Lisa says.

Kevin says, "I think there are people out there that know what happened, know this guy and really need to step forward."

Family members support each other with love, as they pray for safety and justice.

Swafford was not only a grandmother, she was a great great grandmother. She leaves behind generations of a family reeling from the loss.

There's a Crime Stoppers reward as well as a $10,000 reward from Oak Farms Dairy for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the man responsible.

 

 

If you have any information about the suspect call 9-1-1 or Arlington police.

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