Faye Swetlik, the missing 6-year-old South Carolina girl whose remains were found last Thursday, was asphyxiated by her neighbor just a few hours after he abducted her last Monday, authorities said at a Tuesday press conference.
Her abductor and killer was Coty Scott Taylor, 30, a neighbor of Faye’s who himself was found dead minutes after Faye’s body was discovered, Cayce Director of Public Safety Byron Snelgrove said at the press conference.
Officials did not address Taylor’s cause of death at the press conference and didn’t disclose a motive. Snelgrove said Taylor didn’t leave a message or note of any kind and said he was “the sole perpetrator of this crime.”
Snelgrove said law enforcement got its first break in the investigation when they searched garbage cans on Thursday and discovered a polka-dot boot and a soup-ladle with dirt on it in the garbage can belonging to Taylor’s address. In Faye’s missing person’s bulletin, she was described as wearing polka-dot boots.
A subsequent search of the nearby area turned up Faye’s body in the woods.
Shortly after, police got a call about a man bleeding on a nearby patio. The bleeding man was Taylor. Snelgrove said DNA connected the residence, Taylor and Faye.
Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher said Faye was killed just a few hours after she was abducted. Snelgrove said that in the early morning hours on Thursday, Taylor moved Faye’s body into the woods.
Police had talked to Taylor the day before in connection with the investigation, and Snelgrove said he was “cooperative” and gave consent to authorities to search his house. Authorities did not believe at the time he was involve in Faye’s disappearance.
Faye, a first grader at Springdale Elementary School, went missing from her family’s front yard after school on Monday.
On Saturday, Faye’s body was transported to the funeral home after her autopsy at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, according to WLTX.
She was given a police escort by the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office motorcade, which stayed with her throughout the entire journey, the outlet reported.
The expenses for Faye’s funeral will be covered by the Caughman-Harman Funeral Home in Lexington, a person answering the phone at the home told PEOPLE.
At Tuesday’s press conference, Snelgrove said, “Faye Swetlik quickly grabbed all of our hearts. This case became and will always remain very personal for us. Faye will never be forgotten.”
Fisher said, “To Faye’s mother and father, my heart, like so many others, breaks for you.”
She added, “No parent should ever have to know such pain.”