Swetlik SC

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — 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.

“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.

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

Cayce Public Safety officers have not yet said anything about how Taylor died.

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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