CAYCE, S.C. - Authorities in South Carolina announced a major development in the case of the missing 6-year-old girl found dead. Investigators say an item belonging to Faye Swetlik was found inside her neighbor's trash can just before police found the little girl and the neighbor dead.
Swetlik's death is being investigated as a murder, but authorities are not saying how she was killed or who killed her. The one thing investigators did make clear Friday was that they believe Swetlik’s murder and the death of her neighbor are connected.
Authorities also released the panicked 911 call of the moment when Swetlik’s mother reported her missing.
“I can't find my daughter, she was playing outside and now I can't find her,” Swetlik’s mother tells the dispatcher while breathing heavily.
“Ok, how old is she?” the dispatcher asks.
“She’s 6, she's going to be 7 in June,” her mother says.
Throughout the call, Swetlik’s mother is wailing, begging for help in finding her missing daughter.
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The 6-year-old disappeared Monday after getting off her school bus. Family told police the last time they saw her, she was playing in the front yard in her neighborhood, Churchill Heights in Cayce, SC.
“This has been a horrible situation for our community and our department,” a police spokesperson said during a Friday news conference.
On Friday, authorities announced Swetlik’s murder was connected to her neighbor, 30-year-old Coty Taylor, and they aren't searching for any suspects. Taylor was found dead inside his home Thursday, a place where investigators went to speak with him while Swetlik was still missing.
“We had talked to Mr. Taylor we had been inside his home.”
Investigators say they found an item belonging to Swetlik in her neighbor's trash can, then they discovered her body in a wooded area near her home. Moments later, her neighbor's body was found. Investigators won't say how Taylor died, but he was never on their radar.
“He has no criminal history and he was not known to law enforcement.”
Swetlik’s autopsy is scheduled for Saturday and the coroner says the cause of death for Taylor should be released around that time.
Neighbors are still in shock after hearing the tragic news. Since Thursday, people have been showing their support by placing things like teddy bears and flowers at a memorial at the entrance to the Churchill Heights neighborhood. Some have even been coming to pray.
A vigil will be held for Swetlik at 10 a.m. Palms to Palmettos on Leaphart Road in West Columbia. Authorities say their case is not closed and they will continue to seek justice for this little girl.