CAYCE, S.C. (WIS) - Results of 6-year-old Faye Marie Swetlik’s autopsy were shared with the public Tuesday afternoon.
Little Faye disappeared from the front yard of her Cayce, South Carolina home Feb. 10 as she was playing outside after school. Her body was found three days later, launching a homicide investigation.
Officials delayed releasing results of her autopsy out of respect for Faye’s family. And even with the wait, Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher struggled to share how Faye died Tuesday.
The autopsy showed Faye died just a few hours after she was abducted.
Officials said the 6-year-old died of “asphyxiation,” which means the suspect cut off her air supply. It’s not clear if she was strangled or suffocated.
When police found Faye’s body, they said she had only been there a short time. The coroner said Faye did not die where she was found.
“To Faye’s mother and father, my heart -- like so many others -- breaks for you,” Fisher said. “I know that there is nothing that I can say to bring any comfort or peace. I am so deeply sorry for what you are going through, and for the loss of your precious baby girl. No parent should ever have to know such pain. You are, and will be, in our thoughts and prayers.”
Police also found the body of a 30-year-old neighbor, Coty Taylor, on Thursday a short time after finding Faye.
In Tuesday’s news conference, police said Taylor killed Faye, and that he was the only one involved in her death.
Police questioned Taylor on Wednesday afternoon -- two days after officials believed he killed the little girl.
He gave officers permission to search his home. At that time, they did not find any evidence.
However, the next morning officers were going through trash cans in the neighborhood when they found one of Faye’s rain boots she was wearing when she was last seen. It was in Taylor’s trash can.
They also found a soup ladle with freshly dug dirt, Cayce Department of Public Safety Director Byron Snellgrove said.
Snellgrove said he was on scene that morning, and he was the one who made the horrific discovery of her body.
He was clearly emotional Tuesday as he talked about those moments, and how tough it has been working the case.
“For the entire Cayce community, the loss of Faye Marie Swetlik will never leave our hearts or our minds,” Snellgrove said. “But it is my hope as we gather here today, we can start to process this horrific crime and grieve the loss of this precious life.”
Taylor’s cause of death was not discussed in Tuesday’s news conference out of respect for Faye’s family, but it was shared after the fact.
He killed himself, the coroner said. Details of when that happened have not been shared.
Officers were called to Taylor’s home due to “a man bleeding” on the back porch around 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Snellgrove said. Crews could not revive him.
Police did confirm Taylor had a roommate. However, police do not believe the roommate was involved in Faye’s death in any way.
As the community tries to deal with this tragic case, mourners have gathered at the Churchill Heights neighborhood, where little Faye lived with her mother.
It’s where she was last seen, and where her body was found. Police said Taylor lived just a few hundred feet from Faye and her mother.
A growing memorial for Faye at one of the entrances of her neighborhood has gotten so large, a second one was started down the street.
Stuffed animals from the memorial there and at her elementary school were donated to children at Prisma Hospital.
Tuesday night, people came together at a candlelight vigil at the Cayce City Hall. The community thanked first responders who helped solve the case, and prayed to support Faye’s family. (Watch that in full below.)
Those who want to donate to Faye’s family can go to any Wells Fargo and mention the memorial fund for “Faye Marie Swetlik.” There is also one GoFundMe that will benefit the family -- no other fundraisers are legitimate.
Funeral expenses for little Faye will be covered by the funeral home.
A public memorial service for Faye will be held at Trinity Baptist Church in Cayce on Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. Her family wants everyone who attends to wear bright colors in honor of Faye’s bright and bubbly personality.
- ‘The Faye feeling’: Family friend describes warmth shared by 6-year-old Faye Swetlik
- Faye Swetlik’s body escorted back home, autopsy results expected to be released Tuesday
- Funeral expenses for Faye Swetlik to be covered
- Community works to shield Faye Swetlik memorial from rain, case update expected Tuesday
- Neighbors heartbroken, shocked by new revelations in homicide case of Faye Swetlik
- Classmates show love for Faye Swetlik with Valentine’s Day cards