Billboards seeking information about missing 6-year-old Faye Swetlik were prominent in the Midlands. On Tuesday, the coroner confirmed that a neighbor who was not known to the family killed the child by asphyxiation.
Faye Swetlik, the 6-year-old Cayce child abducted from her yard by a neighbor a week ago, was asphyxiated, the Lexington County coroner announced Tuesday.
At a somber and emotional news conference, coroner Margaret Fisher revealed the cause of death for Faye Marie Swetlik. But authorities provided few details about how or why 30-year-old Coty Taylor, who lived in the neighborhood but did not know the Swetlik family, kidnapped the child, hid her body and then later killed himself.
Cayce Chief of Police Byron Snellgrove, who discovered her body in woods behind Taylor’s home on the morning of Feb. 13, said DNA confirmed Taylor was the killer. Faye’s mother reported her missing on Feb. 10 and an intensive neighborhood search ensued that ultimately involved more than 300 officers, including officers from the State Law Enforcement Division and the FBI.
In a house-to-house search of weekly trash collection, Snellgrove said authorities on Thursday discovered a child’s polka-dot rain boot and a ladle filled with dirt in the trash can at 602 Picadilly Square, where Taylor lived.
Snellgrove said that authorities believe Taylor moved her body there overnight despite a heavy police presence in the area.
Earlier in the week police searched Taylor’s house and spoke to him, but found no evidence of the child. Taylor was said to be cooperative.
Moments after Faye’s body was found, police received a tip that a bloodied Taylor was spotted on his back porch. Taylor was dead when police arrived, and the coroner reported that he committed suicide by slicing his neck.
Several hours after the press conference, a community vigil was held at Cayce town hall to remember the little girl. A public memorial service is set for 7 p.m. Friday at Trinity Baptist Church in Cayce.