The search for missing Faye Swetlik (pictured) came to an end Thursday when authorities confirmed they had found her body in her South Carolina neighborhood
Missing six-year-old Faye Swetlik’s body was found in a wooded area near her home before a male neighbor, 30, was found dead in his home, authorities said at a press conference Friday.
Officers confirmed that Faye’s body was found in the woodland between her home in Churchill Heights and the Napa Auto Parts store on Thursday, when police were beginning a new search of the area following the discovery of a piece of ‘critical evidence’ in a trash can.
Her body had been moved there shortly before she was discovered, officers said.
The body of her suspected killer was then found at his home at 602 Piccadilly Square.
The deceased male has been identified as Coty Scott Taylor, a Caucasian 30-year-old man who officers said had no criminal history and was not known to police.
He is not related to the little girl nor is he a friend, authorities confirmed.
‘He was merely a neighbor who lived at Churchill Heights,’ Sgt Evan Antley with the Cayce Department of Public Safety said Friday.
He also confirmed that officers had previously spoken to Taylor during the search for the missing girl.
Police confirmed the two deaths are connected and that no arrests had been made.
Officers had returned to the scene after finding ‘critical evidence’ in a trash can belonging to the suspected killer on Thursday.
Antley said: ‘Based on that discovery we narrowed down an area that we felt as an investigative team that we needed to go back to and look for more evidence.’
Antley confirmed they had been to the area multiple times prior to the discovery.
During the early planning stages of the new search, Faye’s body was found.
Based on preliminary investigations from the coroner’s officer Faye had not been in that location ‘for very long at all’.
Shortly after finding Faye, officers found the body of Taylor at 602 Piccadilly Square.
Faye was a first-grade student at Springdale Elementary School. She went missing on Monday after getting off the school bus
Antley said he wanted ‘everyone to continue to pray for Faye Swetlik’.
The Churchill Heights neighborhood where Faye lived continued to be under heavy police presence Friday morning.
Footage posted on Twitter showed that police had extended the crime scene to a different set of apartments near Londonderry Lane where Faye lived.
WIS-TV reported that several law enforcement officers were coming and going in the apartments and the wooded area surrounding them Friday morning.
Caution yellow police tape was also across the little girl’s home.
The local community had taken to social media speculating about the identity of the deceased male and his connection to Faye’s murder.
The latest revelations come as heartbreaking pictures emerged of Valentine’s Day cards that the little girl’s classmates made for her in the hope she would be returned alive.
Some of her friends in the first grade at Springdale Elementary School made the cards for her before the news of her death broke Thursday.
Lexington School District Two released a statement Thursday saying the school community was ‘heart-broken’ by her untimely death.
Flowers, balloons and teddy bears are left at the entrance to the Churchill Heights neighborhood for the little girl
The heartbroken community has set up a memorial for Faye Swetlik
‘We are heart-broken with news of the death of Faye Swetlik, a first-grade student at Springdale Elementary, who went missing earlier this week. When the school community experiences a tragedy like the loss of a child, it deeply affects all of us,’ it said.
Flowers, balloons and teddy bears had also been left at the entrance to the Churchill Heights neighborhood for the little girl.
The search for the missing six-year-old came to an end Thursday when authorities confirmed they had found her body in her South Carolina neighborhood.
The body of a deceased adult male was also located in the neighborhood, authorities said.
Director of Public Safety for Cayce, Byron Snellgrove announced the news through tears at a Thursday press conference where he spoke for only about a minute and took no questions.
A coroner identified the child’s body this morning, police confirmed Thursday afternoon
‘It’s with extremely heavy hearts that we announce we have found the body that the coroner has identified as Faye,’ Snellgrove said.
Faye’s death is being treated as a homicide and no arrests have been made, he added.
Authorities did not identify the male or release information about where exactly the bodies were found or whether the two deaths were connected.
However, Snellgrove said ‘there was no danger to the public’.
DailyMail.com requests for comment to the Cayce Department of Public Safety and the Lexington County Coroner haven’t been returned.
The media was alerted to intensified police activity Thursday morning, with officers and fire crews blocking anyone from entering the neighborhood, even residents.
Investigators were also seen searching trash cans.
Authorities had given an update on the investigation Thursday morning.
At that time, police said they had towed two cars from the home where the child lived.
Antley confirmed that the vehicles were removed from the home but didn’t share details of anything that ‘may or may not have been found in those vehicles’.
The sergeant also confirmed that officers had searched Faye’s home ‘multiple times’.
Police had also closed off the neighborhood where the girl lived to everyone except residents, their visitors and delivery trucks. An officer was also stationed outside of the girl’s home.
Hundreds of officers in Cayce, along with state police and FBI agents, worked around the clock to try to find the little girl.
Searchers knocked multiple times on the doors of every home in the neighborhood.
Police initially said they were hunting for two cars that were seen in the Churchill Heights neighborhood before Faye vanished after getting home from school on Monday.
Cayce Department of Public Safety posted images of the cars, saying: ‘The two vehicles shown were in the neighborhood during the time #FayeSwetlik was last seen.’
Antley confirmed Thursday morning that they had identified and spoken to the person driving the Chevrolet Trailblazer, but investigators are still seeking information about the silver sedan.
Faye’s bereaved grandmother shared a video showing the six-year-old singing ‘You Are My Sunshine’ on social media in the hours after authorities in South Carolina confirmed she was found dead.
Her grandmother, Ruth Collins, had posted several messages on her Facebook page expressing hope that her granddaughter would eventually be found.
‘I want my baby back,’ Collins said at a prayer vigil on Tuesday. ‘We’ve got to find her.’
After officials announced that a body had been found, Collins posted a picture of a single burning candle, and a touching picture of her kissing her granddaughter’s head.
Swetlik’s grandmother shared video on Thursday showing her six-year-old granddaughter sing ‘You Are My Sunshine’
Young Faye is seen above with her grandmother, Ruth Collins, who provided the video of her singing
‘My heart is out there somewhere and I don’t know how to handle it,’ said Faye’s grandmother Ruth Collins a day after her granddaughter went missing
Faye’s death is being treated as a homicide and no arrests have been made.
The search for Faye was a three-day effort that involved helicopters, K-9 teams and assistance from state police and the FBI
Director of Public Safety for Cayce, Byron Snellgrove (pictured) became emotional as he announced the death of little Faye
Faye’s death is being treated as a homicide and no arrests have been made. Officers pictured during the investigation on Thursday
Authorities said the child’s body was found in the Churchill Heights neighborhood where she lived. Police have also found the body of an adult male who has not been identified
Police initially said they were hunting for two cars that were seen in the neighborhood before Faye vanished on Monday. Officials have identified the person driving the Chevrolet Trailblazer, but investigators are still seeking information about the sedan
Faye was last seen playing in front of the Londonderry Lane home in Cayce, near Columbia, at approximately 3.45pm.
Her family reported her missing at 5pm, saying they had been searching for her.
Police did not say whether the person driving the Trailblazer lived in the Churchill Heights neighborhood.
Authorities released footage of Faye getting off her school bus on Wednesday morning as they announced that the search for the girl had been expanded.
In the footage, Faye gets out of her seat, speaks to the bus driver and then exits the vehicle. According to a witness, this was at around 2.50pm Monday.
Faye – a student at Springdale Elementary School – was last seen wearing a black shirt with neon colors, a flower print skirt and polka dot rain boots. The shirt had the word ‘peace’ written on it.
Snellgrove said Faye’s mother, her mother’s boyfriend and Faye’s father had all been cooperating with the investigation.
Faye’s grandmother, Ruth Collins, had been pleading to the public on social media for help with finding her granddaughter.
Footage of Faye getting off the bus on Monday afternoon was release by police on Wednesday
In the video, Faye (pictured) is seen getting out of her seat and walking to the front of the bus
Faye (center) is then seen speaking to the bus driver (left) before exiting the bus
‘I’m going crazy not knowing where she is,’ Collins wrote in a Facebook post.
In a statement, the family told ABC News that ‘Faye is a bubbly and happy little girl’.
‘She’s not the type of kid that will up and walk away… Faye pays attention to her surroundings. We just want to find Faye and bring her home.’
The child’s mother has not made any public statements since Faye went missing earlier this week.
On Tuesday night, community members gathered at Trinity Baptist Church to pray for Faye’s safe return.
For the past few days, Faye’s grandmother, Ruth Collins (left with Faye and right), has been pleading to the public on social media for help with finding her granddaughter. ‘I’m going crazy not knowing where she is,’ Collins said
On Tuesday night, community members (pictured) gathered at Trinity Baptist Church to pray for Faye’s safe return
The child had been playing in front of her home (pictured) at the time she went missing
Faye was lactose intolerant with a speech impediment from having a tethered tongue.
Tethered tongue, or ankyloglossia, is when a thick band of tissue tethers the bottom of the tongue to the tip of the floor of the mouth.
‘When she walks into a room she brightens it up. Everyone loves Faye,’ Snellgrove said.
‘Faye loves dresses, fancy shoes, spending time with her family, cats and playing outside.’
Several public figures have spoken out about the Swetlik case.
Vice President Mike Pence gave a speech to The Citadel, a military academy in South Carolina, according to Fox News.
‘[A]llow me to address an issue that I know is on the hearts of people all across South Carolina today,’ the vice president said on Thursday.
‘And as your vice president and as a father, let me say we were deeply saddened to receive word this afternoon that the remains of Faye Swetlik, a 6-year-old girl who went missing from her parents’ front yard just three days ago, have been found.’
Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted: ‘Like all South Carolinians, I was heartbroken to hear the news about the death of Faye Swetlik.
‘I pray for the family of this beautiful young girl as they deal with this horrific tragedy.’
Authorities are asking for anyone with information that could help with their homicide investigation to contact the #FayeSwetlik Hotline at 1-803-205-4444.