Cayce DPS and coroner release findings of investigation into death of Faye Swetlik
Cayce, SC (Paul Kirby) – Tuesday afternoon, Cayce’s Director of Public Safety Byron Snellgrove and Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher spoke at a press conference to release more information in the case of Faye Marie Swetlik’s death. They were flanked by the director of the State Law Enforcement Division, the special agent in charge of the Columbia area office of the FBI, and Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon.
Since her little body was found in the Churchill Heights neighborhood last Thursday, February 13. 2020, Faye’s body has been sent to MUSC in Charleston for an autopsy by a forensic pathologist. This is standard procedure to determine the cause and manner of death as well as to collect evidence pertinent to the case. Cayce’s Director of Public Safety Byron Snellgrove had announced that day that Faye was located and that his department was considering her death a homicide.
Fisher said that the autopsy results on Faye indicated that she died shortly after she was abducted. According to Fisher, Faye’s death was caused by asphyxiation. She continued by saying the child was not killed where she was found and had only been moved to the hiding spot in the woods shortly before her body was located.
Fisher said out of respect for Faye’s family, she would not release the findings in the autopsy of Coty Scott Taylor who was identified as Faye’s killer during the 3:00 p.m. news conference. That would be done later. Fisher said that she was doing everything that she and her staff could to show respect for Faye’s family and allow them time to process all of this. That show of respect included Fisher making no comment today regarding the condition of Faye’s body when it was found.
Chief Snellgrove said that the day Faye Swetlik’s body was found, officers with the Cayce Department of Public Safety were notified that a man was bleeding on the back patio at 602 Piccadilly Square. When they arrived, they found the body of Coty Scott Taylor, Faye’s killer. He said that DNA matched Taylor with Faye but at this point, they had not found any reason Taylor had killed Faye. Snellgrove said that Taylor left no note explaining his actions.
That same day, during the regular pickup of trash in the Churchill Heights neighborhood, officers located a polka dot boot and a soup ladle covered with dirt in a trash can. Faye had been wearing polka dotted boots the day she was taken. Immediately, Chief Snellgrove said that the officers began another grid search and acting on a hunch, he himself found the body of Faye. The chief said they believe that Faye’s body was moved early Thursday morning from the unknown place she had been hidden to the where she was found. He said this was done under the cover of darkness in the early morning hours.
Chief Snellgrove said that as of right now, they have no concrete evidence as to why Taylor committed this heinous crime. Snellgrove did say that Taylor had a roommate, however he had been questioned by officers and it was determined that he was not around much when Faye was killed. They do not believe he had a part in the killing.
Police officers had searched Taylor’s home during their investigation. When asked where he thought Faye’s body was during that search of the home, the chief simply said, “I don’t know.”
At the height of the investigation, more than 300 law enforcement officers and firefighters were involved in the search for Faye. Chief Snellgrove said that he had received help from Lexington County, SLED, the FBI and others.
Faye went missing at around 3:45 p.m. and her mother searched for her before dialing 911. Chief Snellgrove said that Cayce had officers on the scene in a matter of minutes and within 30 minutes, the command staff of his department had responded. They flooded the area, closed the neighborhood, and searched every home, pool, creek, stream, and culvert for Faye. In the end, her autopsy had revealed that she was probably already dead as these valiant officers were searching.
Snellgrove thanked everyone involved and those who lent their support. He said they appreciated the prayers of the community and the nation. The chief said that he and his officers, “Felt every one of them.”
There will be a candlelight prayer vigil on the front lawn of the Cayce City Hall Tuesday beginning at 5:00 p.m. Everyone who would like to is welcome to attend. It will be held rain or shine, and the city will provide the candles. The city hall is located at 1800 12th Street in Cayce.