South Carolina police on Friday identified the second body found in the case of missing 6-year-old Faye Swetlik as Coty Scott Taylor, a 30-year-old neighbor of the girl. Police said they believe the two bodies are "linked."
"Our evidence and our investigation shows that they are linked," Sergeant Evan Antley said at a news conference Friday. Taylor was Swetlik's neighbor, he said, but emphasized that he was "not a relative, he was not a friend."
According to the sergeant, officers spoke to Taylor and searched his home after Swetlik went missing earlier this week. Taylor's residence is only about "100 to 150 feet" away from Swetlik's, Antley said. "We had talked to Mr. Taylor, we had been inside his home," he said.
Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher officially identified Taylor as a 30-year-old white male. She said further information would be provided after an autopsy is performed this weekend.
Authorities on Thursday announced that the body of Swetlik was found, three days after she went missing in front of her home in Cayce. She was last seen playing in her front yard on Monday afternoon at approximately 3:45 p.m. after surveillance footage showed her getting off the school bus.
According to Antley, police discovered her body after a "critical" piece of evidence was found that prompted them to return to a location they had previously searched.
Faye Swetlik Family photo
Investigators on Thursday followed sanitation trucks through the Cayce neighborhood of Churchill Heights, according to Antley.
"What we were doing was emptying trash cans and looking to see what came out before it was entered into the truck," he said. "As part of that search, we located a critical item of evidence related to our investigation of bringing Faye Swetlik home."
Antley would not say what the evidence was but shared that it was found in a trash can belonging to Taylor's residence and that the item "would have been listed" on Swetlik's missing person flyer.
"Based on that discovery we narrowed down an area that we felt as an investigative team that we needed to go back to and look for more evidence," he said. "Another methodical search of that area... even though we'd been there multiple times, we were going back."
According to Antley, Swetlik's body was located in a "wooded area between her residence and the Napa Auto Parts," where police held briefings earlier in the week.
"Based on the preliminary information that we receive from the coroner's office we believe that Faye had not been in that location for a very long time at all," he said.
"Just moments" after Swetlik's body was found, police then discovered the body of Taylor at his residence, Antley said.
No information was given on the manner of Taylor's death. He had no criminal history and was not known to law enforcement before this case, according to the sergeant.
"We want more information about Coty Taylor, starting at 3:44 Monday afternoon," he said.