News from BSO

PARENTAL ABDUCTION ENDS IN SUICIDE Michigan Couple was in the Process of Divorce

BSO Case Number: OP02-11-13564
PIO Number: 02-11-39
Date: Monday, November 25, 2002
Time: 1600
Place of Occurrence: 4761 NE 15 Terrace, Oakland Park (ROADSIDE)


  • Elizabeth Swain, 29, 3/27/73, 1931 NE 62nd Street, Fort Lauderdale
  • The couple’s 3 and 4 year-old sons


  • Michael Eric Swain, 29, 7/23/73, 2396 Ackley Avenue,
  • Westland, Michigan (DECEASED)

Description of Incident:

An estranged couple’s three-year marriage ended in tragedy when a Michigan father of two commited suicide after abducting his wife and two young sons during a terrifying four-hour ordeal.

At approximately 11 a.m., Monday, November 25, 2002, Michael Swain arrived at his estranged wife, Elizabeth Swain’s, Fort Lauderdale residence armed with a handgun. Once inside, Swain revealed the gun and proceeded to hold his three and four year-old sons and their mother hostage for more than four hours.

In an attempt to secure her boys’ safety, the mother convinced Swain to drop-off the children at a Fort Lauderdale Winn Dixie store where her sister works. Shortly after 3:30 p.m., Swain, still armed with the handgun, complied by loading Elizabeth Swain and their two sons into his Michigan registered Ford Aerostar mini-van. The four then drove to the Winn Dixie Supermarket, located at 1700 E. Commercial Blvd. Once outside the store, Elizabeth Swain exited the vehicle in what the suspect thought was an attempt to make arrangements with her sister. Instead, she dialed 911.

Fort Lauderdale Police immediately responded, but Michael Swain fled with the two children as soon as he spotted the officers. Aware the young brothers were still in the vehicle and that the unpredictable suspect was armed, Fort Lauderdale Police closely followed the mini-van through an Oakland Park residential neighborhood with their lights off. At approximately 4:04 p.m., Swain stopped his car at the 4700 block of NE 15th Terrace in Oakland Park, exited the vehicle, placed his gun to his head, and pulled the trigger. The suspect was pronounced dead on the scene.

Moments later, the unharmed children were reunited with their mother at the Winn Dixie store from where she dialed 911. Investigators are still trying to verify the status of the Swain’s divorce proceedings. Elizabeth Swain told investigators she recently moved to South Florida to flee from her estranged husband.

INVESTIGATORS: Sgt. R. O’Neil/ CI Homicide
THIS REPORT BY: Liz Calzadilla/ PIO 11/26/02 11:15 a.m.

Posted At: 11/26/2002 11:33 AM

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