South Carolina girl found dead, days after going missing

National

A Cayce police officer blocks an entrance to the Churchill Heights neighborhood Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, in Cayce, S.C., where 6 year-old Faye Marie Swetlik recently went missing just after getting off a school bus. Hundreds of officers in Cayce, along with state police and FBI agents, are working around the clock to try to find Swetlik, who was last seen Monday, Cayce Public Safety Officer Sgt. Evan Antley reiterated Thursday. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A 6-year-old South Carolina girl who disappeared earlier in the week after getting off her school bus was found dead Thursday, and a homicide investigation has been opened, authorities said.

The body of a man also was found recently in the neighborhood where the child, Faye Marie Swetlik, disappeareMonday, said Cayce Public Safety Director Byron Snellgrove.

Snellgrove didn’t immediately provide any evidence to link the two deaths, but said at a brief news conference to announce the developments that there was no danger to the public. He said no arrests have been made in the girl’s death.

“It’s with extremely heavy hearts that we announce we have found the body” of the child, Snellgrove said, speaking for only about a minute and taking no questions.

The coroner confirmed the girl’s death but has not released the identity of the dead man, Snellgrove said.

The girl’s disappearance had brought more than 250 officers to the neighborhood in Cayce, just across the Congaree River from the state capital of Columbia.

Searchers knocked multiple times on the doors of every home in the neighborhood. They also checked trash cans and a nearby landfill and towed cars.

The girl was last seen getting off the school bus Monday. Her family discovered her missing about 3:45 p.m. and called 911 after looking for her for about an hour, authorities have said.

The girl’s mother, the mother’s boyfriend and her father all cooperated with investigators, authorities said.

Flyers with Faye’s picture had appeared all over Cayce and people in the area tracked every development in the case.

“When she walks into a room she brightens it up. Everyone loves Faye,” Snellgrove said. Tuesday “Faye loves dresses, fancy shoes, spending time with her family, cats and playing outside.”

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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