CAYCE, S.C. (WSPA) – Authorities in South Carolina say a 6-year-old girl who disappeared from her front yard after school last week was strangled to death by a neighbor who then killed himself.
Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher on Tuesday confirmed Faye Swetlik died from asphyxiation within hours of her disappearance.
Fisher said earlier that Faye’s body was found in the Churchill Heights neighborhood where she lived.
Cayce Department of Public Safety officials said during a news conference last week that a man’s body was found at a home on Picadilly Square on the same day authorities located Swetlik’s body.
Fisher identified the man as Coty Scott Taylor, 30, who lived at the address on Picadilly Square. Taylor graduated from Bluffton High School in 2007 and went on to study at the University of South Carolina before dropping out.
Authorities said last week that a critical item of evidence that led to the discovery of Swetlik’s body was found inside a trash can outside of Taylor’s home.
On Tuesday, Byron Snellgrove, director of the Cayce Department of Public Safety, revealed what those items found in the trash can were.
“As our officers went through it, they found a couple of items of significant importance,” Snellgrove said. “One was a child’s polka dot boot. The second was a soup ladle that had freshly dug dirt in it.”
“Evidence leads us to believe that the deceased abducted and killed Faye Swetlik and it appears that he is the sole perpetrator of this crime,” Snellgrove said. “Faye’s body was moved in the shadow of the night to behind the townhouses where she was found.”
Fisher said during the news conference that this homicide case has been “extremely difficult on all of us.”
“To Faye’s mother and father, my heart — like so many others — breaks for you,” she said. “I know there is nothing that I can say that will bring you comfort or peace. I am so deeply sorry for what you are going through and for the loss of your precious baby girl.”
Fisher released Tuesday afternoon that Taylor, 30, died as a result of a cut to his neck.
Taylor’s manner of death was ruled a suicide.
A candlelight vigil was held Tuesday night at Cayce City Hall in memory of Faye. A public memorial is set for Friday evening at Trinity Baptist Church in Cayce.