CAYCE, SC (WIS/WBTV) - A man found dead in the neighborhood where 6-year-old Faye Swetlik disappeared was identified by officials Friday as Faye’s neighbor, 30-year-old Coty Scott Taylor.
Faye’s body was found in a wooded area this week after she vanished from her Churchill Heights neighborhood Monday afternoon.
Officials say they found a “critical item of evidence" in Taylor’s trashcan that linked him to Faye. Taylor, who resided in Churchill Heights, was Faye’s neighbor. “He was not a relative or a friend," officials said.
“This has been a tragic situation for our community, for our department, and for everyone who has been following the story of Faye Marie Swetlik,” officials said Friday.
Regarding where the bodies were found, officials say Faye’s body was found in a wooded area near her home and Taylor’s body was found a short time later at his home.
“We believe that Faye had not been in that location for a very long time at all," officials said, of an area they had previously searched multiple times.
Faye’s family says the girl disappeared while playing in her yard a short time after getting off the school bus.
“It’s with extremely heavy hearts that we announce that we have found the body of Faye,” officials said Thursday. “We are now treating this case as a homicide.”
Officials combed through hours of surveillance and security video in the search for Faye.
Police surrounded an area a short distance from Faye’s home Thursday before announcing that her body had been found, and officers would not let anyone into the Churchill Heights neighborhood.
Earlier in the morning, investigators were spotted going through trash cans set out in the neighborhood.
“We are going to do everything in our power to bring her home,” officials said during a press conference Thursday morning. “Video is coming in by the hour,” officials said.
Authorities followed up on the hundreds of tips they received since creating the hotline in this investigation.
“We have our eyes wide open,” officers said during the search for Faye, noting that they have spoken to everyone who lives in the neighborhood where Faye was last seen. Vehicles from the area were towed and are being looked at.
“Since 5 o’clock on Monday we have been trying non-stop to bring Faye home,” officers said.
Officials say that the best way to offer help in this investigation is to send in any video that may help and to notify them if you know anything. They are still trying to locate and identify one of the two cars that may be connected to Faye’s disappearance.
Officials put photos out Wednesday of the two vehicles.
One of the vehicles, a Chevrolet Trailblazer, has been identified - but investigators are still seeking information about a silver sedan.
Officials have been trying to account for everyone in Churchill Heights neighborhood at the time of Faye’s disappearance.
Another vigil is being held for Faye Thursday in Kershaw, SC. This event is being hosted by the Frontline Biker Church. It will take place at the Kershaw Farmer’s Market on the 200 block of Hampton Street beside the Kershaw Fire Department-Station 11 at 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday morning, Cayce police updated the public with new video showing Faye getting off her school bus Monday afternoon, just minutes before her family said she was last seen in her yard.
“We have looked at that house multiple times. We have had an officer on that house since 5 p.m. on Monday," officers said of Faye’s home. "That is normal business”
WHY WAS THERE NO AMBER ALERT?
Officials said the following criteria must be met for an Amber Alert to be activated:
- a law enforcement agency or agencies must believe the child has been abducted,
- if the child is under 17 and the agency believes they’re in immediate danger or serious harm,
- all other possibilities for the disappearance have been reasonably excluded,
- there is sufficient information available to give to the public,
- the child’s name and other critical data have been entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).
Faye’s information was entered into NCIC as a missing person, officials said.
Anyone with information that could help law enforcement is urged to contact 803-205-4444.