Missing South Carolina girl found dead, police say

CAYCE, S.C. —Faye Swetlik, a 6-year-old Cayce girl missing since Monday, has been found dead.

Byron Snellgrove, director of the Cayce Department of Public Safety, said the girl’s body was found Thursday. He also announced that a male’s body was found, and authorities said the bodies were found near each other. No other details about Faye or the male, including his identity or age, were available.

“It is with extremely heavy hearts we’re announcing we found a body the coroner identified as Faye Marie Swetlik,” Snellgrove said while choking back tears at a news conference.

No arrests have been made, and no suspects were identified by Snellgrove. He said he wanted to share the news of Faye’s death with the community as soon as possible.

The investigation was called fluid, but Snellgrove said he doesn’t believe the community is in any danger. A new investigation into the male’s death has been opened.

Information on any possible connection between the two deaths was not available.

Earlier in the week, Snellgrove described Faye as bubbly and energetic and said she was loved by her teacher and classmates at Springdale Elementary School. She liked fancy shoes and dresses, cats and spending time outside.

Her family issued a statement earlier in the week that said Faye “always wants to play and have fun. She’s not the type of kid that will up and walk away,” according to WHNS-TV of Greenville.

Lexington County School District 2, which Springdale Elementary is part of, released a statement that said it was “heartbroken with news of the death.”

“When the school community experiences a tragedy like the loss of a child, it deeply affects all of us,” the district said.

Springdale Elementary will have extra counselors at the school to talk to students, teachers and staff members, Principal Hope Vrana said in a release. They will meet with students one on one if needed.

“That support will be more important than ever in coming days, as our community grieves the loss of this little girl,” Vrana said. “Our goal here at Springdale is to listen and to reassure our students and to keep the school day as normal as we possibly can during this difficult time.”

Churchill Heights is a community of mostly one-story brick homes with shade-covered yards. A couple of apartment units are near the street where Faye lived. The community is near the junction of Edmund Highway, or S.C. 302, and Interstate 26, and about two miles from Columbia Metropolitan Airport.

There was a heavy law enforcement presence on the major roads near the Churchill Heights neighborhood Thursday, with patrol vehicles stationed by multiple exits on Interstate 26 and S.C. 302. Only residents and delivery trucks were being allowed into the neighborhood.

Faye was reported missing Monday from her home, Cayce officials said.

She returned home on a school bus and was last seen playing in her yard by family at about 3:45 p.m., said Sgt. Evan Antley of the Cayce Department of Public Safety.

Faye’s family reported her missing to law enforcement at about 5 p.m., and within 40 minutes 50 emergency responders were searching for the girl near her home on Londonderry Lane, Antley said.

Antley said the neighborhood had been locked down by law enforcement. It was only accessible to residents and people who worked in the neighborhood Monday.

Although Faye’s family are not members of the Trinity Baptist Church congregation, that didn’t stop Senior Pastor Eddie Coakley from praying for them, and the girl.

After Faye was first reported missing, a vigil was held for the family at the church, which also hosted Cayce officials’ news conferences Wednesday and Thursday.

“It’s devastating,” Coakley said of the girl’s death. “Even though they weren’t members of the church, this is a tight-knit community. That’s why we’re so heartbroken.

“It’s hard to believe a little child could be playing, enjoying her day. Then something so terrible happens.”

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the tip line at (803) 205-4444.

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