South Carolina girl was killed the day she went missing, coroner says

CAYCE, SC —Faye Swetlik, the 6-year-old girl who disappeared from her Cayce yard and was found dead days later, died the same day she went missing, the Lexington County Coroner’s Office said Tuesday.

The girl who was reported missing Feb. 10 was killed by a man whose body was found shortly after Faye’s was discovered, the Cayce Department of Public Safety said.

“(Coty Taylor) abducted and kidnapped 6-year-old Faye Swetlik,” said Byron Snellgrove, the director of the department of public safety. “He was the sole perpetrator.”

Faye’s cause of death was determined to be asphyxiation, Coroner Margaret Fisher said at a news conference.

Taylor’s death was ruled suicide, Fisher said in a news release.

The coroner said Faye was not killed where her body was found, and was placed at that location a short time before her remains were discovered on Feb. 13 near her Cayce home in the Churchill Heights neighborhood by law enforcement.

Her death is considered a homicide and was linked with the death of Taylor, a 30-year-old neighbor whose body was also found Thursday in the same neighborhood.

Police found evidence in the man’s trash can that linked him to Faye’s death, said Sgt. Evan Antley of the Cayce Department of Public Safety.

That evidence included a polka dot child’s boot and a soup ladle with freshly dug dirt inside, Snellgrove said. Upon that discovery, Snellgrove said he searched near 602 Picadilly Square and found Faye’s body just before 10:30 a.m.

Faye was last seen wearing polka dot rain boots, the department of public safety reported.

Minutes later there were reports of a man spotted bleeding at that residence, according to Snellgrove. He was later identified as Taylor.

Taylor’s death was the result of an incised wound to the neck, the coroner said.

DNA evidence showed Faye was inside Taylor’s home and linked him to her death, Snellgrove said.

Faye was reported missing in the afternoon on Feb. 10. She was last seen about 3:45 p.m. playing in the yard of her mother’s house in the Churchill Heights neighborhood off Airport Boulevard in Cayce. Her body was found Thursday morning.

Taylor lived in a home about 100 to 150 feet from Faye’s home, Antley said. Taylor was not a relative or friend of Faye or her family. Taylor had no criminal record and “was not known to law enforcement.”

Police have not made any arrests and have no suspects, Antley said, but authorities are still investigating and are keeping details about the case limited for that reason.

Faye was described as bubbly and energetic and was loved by her teacher and classmates at Springdale Elementary School, Cayce Department of Public Safety Director Byron Snellgrove said at a previous news conference. She liked fancy shoes and dresses, cats and spending time outside.

A public memorial service for Faye will be held Friday at 7 p.m. at Trinity Baptist Church in Cayce. Caughman-Harman Funeral Home said all expenses for Faye’s service and burial have been covered.

A candlelight vigil was planned for Tuesday night on the front lawn of Cayce City Hall that’s scheduled to include prayers and speeches from a mental health counselor, the principal of Faye’s elementary school and Cayce Mayor Elise Partin.

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