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SC authorities: Neighbor strangled missing girl, killed self

This undated photo provided by the Cayce Department of Public Safety shows Faye Marie Swetlik, who had been missing since shortly after getting off her school bus near her South Carolina home Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. Photo: Cayce Department of Public Safety via AP
This undated photo provided by the Cayce Department of Public Safety shows Faye Marie Swetlik, who had been missing since shortly after getting off her school bus near her South Carolina home Monday, Feb. 10, 2020.

Updated: February 18, 2020 02:52 PM

A 6-year-old girl who disappeared from her front yard after school was strangled by a neighbor who then killed himself, authorities said Tuesday.

Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher told reporters Tuesday that Faye Marie Swetlik died just a few hours after she was abducted.

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“The loss of Faye, an innocent child, who was simply playing in her own yard ... has been extremely difficult to all of us," Fisher said. She added that out of respect for the girl's family, she would release no information about the condition of her body.

Cayce Public Safety Director Byron Snellgrove said Faye was killed by 30-year-old neighbor Coty Scott Taylor, who was himself found dead not long after the girl's body was found. The coroner's office said Taylor cut his own throat.

Faye had gotten off the school bus and was last seen playing in her Cayce front yard on Feb. 10. More than 200 officers searched over three days for her, knocking on every door in her neighborhood and checking every vehicle going in and out.

Evidence in trash can links dead neighbor to missing SC girl

Investigators have said they found a clue about her disappearance in Taylor's trash can Thursday. Snellgrove said the evidence included one of Faye's rain boots and a soup ladle of dirt. 

They soon found the girl's body in woods that had been searched previously, and then found Taylor, dead in his home. Snellgrove said Faye's body appeared to have been moved during the night before she was found Thursday morning.

He said Taylor had cooperated when interviewed by investigators earlier.

“He was cooperative and gave consent to agents to look through the house. Those agents did not see anything," he said.

The girl's disappearance shocked Cayce, a town of about 13,000 just west of Columbia. Several prayer vigils were held while she was missing and after her body was found.

A public memorial for Faye will be 7 p.m. Friday at Trinity Baptist Church in Cayce.

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Credits

Associated Press

(Copyright 2020 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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