A 6-year-old South Carolina girl who was found dead last week was asphyxiated just hours after she was abducted by her neighbor, officials disclosed during a Tuesday press conference.
The body of Faye Swetlik was discovered Thursday morning in a wooded area of the Churchill Heights neighborhood of Cayce near her home, following a frantic three-day-search, according to the Lexington County Coroner’s Office. Her neighbor Coty Scott Taylor, 30, was found dead inside his home “just moments” after Swetlik’s body was discovered, Cayce Department of Public Safety Sgt. Evan Antley said last week. The child had vanished while playing in her yard shortly after returning home from school on Monday, Feb. 10.
During a Tuesday news conference, Cayce Public Safety Director Byron Snelgrove said that evidence suggests that Taylor killed Swetlik within hours of kidnapping her. He added that her body was only at the location where she was found for a short while.
"Evidence further shows that Faye's body was moved during the shadow of night to behind the townhouses where she was found in the early morning hours on Thursday morning, under the cover of darkness," Snelgrove said.
Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher, who appeared visibly upset during the press conference, told reporters that the cause of the 6-year-old's death was murder by asphyxiation.
Meanwhile, Taylor died by suicide from an "incised wound to the neck," according to the coroner’s report, obtained by local outlet WYFF4.
Antley previously told reporters that a "critical piece of evidence,” something that may have been described on her missing persons flier, was found in one of Taylor’s trash cans which led to the discovery of Swetlik's body. Snelgrove specified Tuesday that those items included a child's polka dot boot and a soup ladle that had freshly dug dirt in it. He said DNA linked Taylor to Swetlik's murder.
Snelgrove said Tuesday that while Taylor did have a roommate, Taylor is the one and only suspect. He said the roommate wasn't home much during the time of the incident. Snelgrove also said that Taylor was interviewed by police a day before Swetlik's body was found, and that he appeared cooperative and even allowed investigators into his home.
He did not leave a suicide note of any kind, officials said Tuesday.
A candlelight vigil was held Tuesday evening to celebrate the young girl's life.
"There are no adequate words to express the depth of our sadness and our sympathy to Faye's parents," a distraught Fisher said at the press conference. "I am so deeply sorry for what you are going through and for the loss of your precious baby girl. No parent should ever have to know such pain.”
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