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New incriminating evidence against man accused of kidnapping, killing Faye Swetlik released

Published: Jul. 2, 2021 at 8:39 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 2, 2021 at 9:41 PM EDT
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EDITOR’S NOTE: This story may be disturbing for some readers. It was hard for me to write, as well. I will never forget Faye or the impact this case has had on my life. Rest in peace, sweet girl. I hope this report brings a sense of closure to Faye’s family. They were not contacted for comment, as WIS will respect their privacy.

CAYCE, S.C. (WIS) - With the release of a final report, investigators have closed the case of 6-year-old Faye Marie Swetlik’s kidnapping and murder.

From the moment her body was found, there has only been one suspect: Faye’s neighbor, Coty Taylor.

Cayce Department of Public Safety Director Byron Snellgrove said his agency has chased every lead, call and conspiracy theory.

“All endings, evidence and facts point to the exact same conclusion: Coty Taylor abducted and murdered Faye Marie Swetlik and was the sole perpetrator in this horrible case,” Snellgrove said Friday.

New information incriminating Taylor was released Friday in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

The new report includes never-before-seen surveillance video and summaries of interviews, as well as descriptions of DNA evidence.

This article just scratches the surface of what was shared with the media. Expect more reports in the coming days.

WARNING: Details of the evidence and investigation may be disturbing to some readers.

NEW DNA EVIDENCE

Faye disappeared from the front yard of her home in the Churchill Heights neighborhood of Cayce on the afternoon of Feb. 10, 2020.

The coroner determined Faye died a short time after her disappearance. But investigators said it was several days before she was buried in a shallow grave just 300 feet from her home and 200 feet from Taylor’s home.

PREVIOUS STORY | Autopsy reveals heartbreaking details of 6-year-old Faye Marie Swetlik’s death

Snellgrove found Faye’s body on the morning of Feb. 13.

Evidence pointing to Taylor as the suspect in Faye’s death was shared at the time. But new DNA evidence released Friday is even more incriminating.

Taylor’s DNA was found under Faye’s fingernails, the new report states.

Both Faye and Taylor’s DNA was also found in a black laundry bag inside Taylor’s home.

Police said one of the rain boots Faye had last been seen in was found in Taylor’s trash can Feb. 13, along with a ladle and some freshly-dug dirt.

The ladle contained Faye and Taylor’s DNA.

Moments after the discovery of Faye’s body, officers found Taylor dead on the back porch of his nearby home. He had killed himself, investigators said.

A knife found with Taylor’s body only contained his DNA, the new report states.

TAYLOR’S MOVEMENTS ON THE DAY FAYE’S BODY WAS FOUND

Investigators believed Taylor had buried her the morning of Feb. 13, and newly-released information backs up that conclusion.

Taylor had gone to Walmart that morning and purchased a 50-pound bag of potting soil, police said, as well as fertilizer and some other gardening supplies.

Surveillance video released by Cayce DPS, as well as a receipt and other evidence found in Taylor’s house seem to confirm this.

The employee working in the Garden Center at Walmart later told police Taylor said he was setting up a garden at his home, but he seemed to grab random items with no plan. He purchased “three bags of soil and fertilizer at random,” the employee said.

A rideshare driver who drove Taylor home from Walmart also spoke with police.

That witness said Taylor was acting strangely and avoided conversation when asked about gardening. When they pulled into the Churchill Heights neighborhood, the driver asked Taylor if he knew Faye.

The new report states Taylor answered “I don’t know” several times before saying “I never met her before.”

A nearly-empty bag of potting soil was found in Taylor’s house near an empty black laundry bag on Feb. 13, the new report states.

Video surveillance from the early morning hours of Feb. 13 appears to show a person emptying the contents of a bag in the area where Faye’s body was found.

The crude grave where Faye was buried contained “dark potting type soil,” police said.

There was no evidence of any gardening or fresh landscaping around Taylor’s home on Feb. 13.

The new report states Taylor’s roommate “was emphatic” that Taylor “had no interest in gardening.” He also told investigators that Taylor “rarely had discretionary money” but had just gotten a direct deposit from their shared workplace in the hours before his trip to Walmart.

Police concluded that Taylor killed Faye hours after abducting her. Investigators believe he kept her body in his home until the morning of Feb. 13, when they say he buried her in a shallow grave before taking his own life.

PREVIOUS SEARCHES OF TAYLOR’S HOME

Investigators had searched Taylor’s home two times before Faye was found dead: around 11:15 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. on Feb. 12.

During the first search, only Taylor’s roommate was home. He consented to the search.

His roommate said he was at work at the time of Faye’s disappearance, and police were able to confirm that.

Police noted a black laundry bag that was full and stored in a closet under the stairs of the home. It was not investigated further at the time. However, it was notable. Here’s how police explain it in the new report:

At the time of the consensual search, there was nothing overtly suspicious regarding the laundry bag and no evidence that made 602 Piccadilly Square (Taylor’s home) notable from other residences in the Churchill Heights Neighborhood. After the death of Coty Taylor and execution of a search warrant at 602 Piccadilly Square on 2/13/2020, it was found that the laundry bag had significant evidentiary value.

That is the laundry bag that contained Faye’s DNA, investigators said.

When investigators returned to the home later in the day, Taylor was home and was interviewed by police.

He said he was home when Faye disappeared, but was sleeping. Taylor did consent to a second search of the home.

“Nothing related to Faye Swetlik’s disappearance was found,” investigators noted.

ANY OTHER SUSPECTS?

After Taylor’s death, his roommate was questioned at Cayce DPS Headquarters.

His alibi of being at work during Faye’s disappearance was confirmed.

He said he had spent the night at his girlfriend’s house on Feb. 12 and did not return to Churchill Heights until 10:15 a.m. Feb. 13, because he had plans to play video games with Taylor.

That’s when he said he found Taylor dead on the back porch of their home.

He told investigators Taylor had expressed feelings of depression to him and suicidal ideations.

The knife found by Taylor’s body only contained his DNA, police said.

Taylor’s roommate was never charged with a crime and police said he was not an accessory to her kidnapping or death before, during or after it happened.

While details of interviews with Faye’s mother, Selena Collins, are outlined in the new report, it never states she was considered a suspect.

Searches of her property and DNA analysis clear her of any involvement.

LOOSE ENDS

No motive has ever been determined for the crime, and likely never will.

The new report states Taylor left no suicide note or other information behind in his home.

No connection between Taylor and anyone in Faye’s life was ever established, police said.

People who knew Taylor said they did not know of any previous interactions between him and Faye.

RELATED STORY | One year later, Faye Swetlik’s parents mourn their little girl

In the conclusion of the new report, investigators said they were unable to determine if Faye was abducted by force or lured into Taylor’s home.

Multiple investigating agencies have tried to get into Taylor’s cell phone, but have not succeeded.

Because Taylor took his own life, there will be no criminal charges in this case.

To read Cayce DPS’s investigative summary of the case, click or tap here.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or thoughts or suicide, get help now. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or click or tap here for more information.

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