CAYCE, S.C. (WBTV) - The cause of death for 6-year-old Faye Swetlik was asphyxiation, according to autopsy results released by Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher Tuesday afternoon.
Faye was found dead Thursday, just days after she disappeared while playing in the front yard of her Cayce, South Carolina home.
Fisher briefly discussed the results at 3 p.m. Tuesday, saying that Faye’s death was a homicide and that she was killed just a short time after she disappeared. Fisher says Faye was killed at a location other than the wooded area where her body was found.
The body of 30-year-old Coty Taylor, Faye’s neighbor, was found on his porch a short time later. The man’s DNA connected the “unknown pieces of this horrific crime,” authorities said.
"Evidence leads us to believe that the deceased abducted and killed Faye Marie Swetlik,” authorities confirmed Tuesday. “It appears that he is the sole perpetrator of this crime.” It is also believed that Taylor moved Swetlik’s body to the wooded area where it was found during the night.
According to a release from Fisher, Taylor died from an “incised wound to the neck” in an apparent suicide.
Out of respect for Faye’s family, no further details were provided regarding the girl’s autopsy results.
“I’m so deeply sorry for what you’re going through," Fisher said to Faye’s parents, “You are and will be in our thoughts and prayers.”
Faye’s body was escorted to a funeral home in Lexington County following her autopsy in Charleston Saturday morning. Results of the autopsy were put on a delay so that family could process the information, according to Fisher.
Officials say they spoke with Taylor on Wednesday. “He was cooperative and gave consent to agents to look through his house,” officials said.
Authorities say they found a “critical item of evidence" in Taylor’s trashcan that linked the man to Faye. Tuesday, officials identified those critical items found were a child’s polka dot boot and a soup ladle with freshly-dug dirt.
“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.
While Faye’s body was located in a wooded area behind the townhomes in the neighborhood, near one of the entrances, Taylor’s body was found in his home, police said.
“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.
Authorities are investigating both Faye’s homicide and Taylor’s death as the same case. They said they are not looking for a person of interest and no arrests have been made in Faye’s death.
According to an obituary posted by Caughman-Harman Funeral Home, a public memorial service for Faye will be held at Trinity Baptist Church in Cayce on Feb. 21 at 7 p.m.
Faye’s family wants everyone to wear bright colors, to honor Faye’s bright and bubbly spirit.
The City of Cayce will hold a candlelight vigil on Tuesday on the front lawn of Cayce City Hall beginning at 5:30 p.m.