CAYCE, SC (FOX Carolina) – On Tuesday afternoon, Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher and Cayce Department of Public Safety Director Byron Snellgrove provided details on how 6-year-old Faye Swetlik died.
Faye was found dead on Feb. 13 in the woods near her home, three days after she went missing.
Coroner Fisher said that an autopsy found the 6-year-old girl died of asphyxiation, just hours after her disappearance. They said her body had only been in the woods for a short time prior to her discovery.
Police announced on Friday that evidence found in a trash can behind a home led them to Faye’s body. 30-year-old Coty Taylor was also found inside that home.
Director Snellgrove said he personally observed a child's polka dot boot and a soup ladle, with fresh dirt on it, be pulled from Taylor's garbage Thursday morning - the regular trash day for the community.
Less than an hour later, Snellgrove says Faye's body was found in a wooded area not far from Taylor's home.
Snellgrove said that through their investigation, they believe Taylor to be the only perpetrator in this crime. He is believed to have abducted and killed Swetlik on February 10.
He also said Taylor was among the residents interviewed and searched during the days leading up to the discovery of Faye. He said Taylor was cooperative during the interview on Wednesday, February 12. The search of his home yielded no evidence that would indicate he was connected to Faye's disappearance at the time.
"For the entire community, the loss of Faye Marie Swetlik will never leave our hearts or our minds," Snellgrove said. "But it is my hope that together, here today, we can start to process this horrific crime and grieve the loss of this precious life."
Following Tuesday's news conference, Fisher issued a news release which details how Taylor died.
Fisher said the autopsy showed Taylor died from an incised wound to the neck and the manner of death was determined to be suicide.
Later Tuesday evening, officials said the community is invited to a Candlelight Vigil in Faye’s memory outside the Cayce City Hall.
Cayce’s mayor will speak, along with Faye’s elementary school Principal, Hope Vrana, and others.
Faye’s funeral is scheduled for Friday evening.
The remembrance service will be held at 7 p.m. in the Trinity Baptist Church Worship center.
Attendees are asked to wear pink and purple in honor of Faye.