CAYCE, S.C. (WIS) - Police shared the tragic news that 6-year-old Faye Swetlik was found dead Thursday, not far from where she was last seen.
Faye disappeared from the front yard of her Cayce, South Carolina home while she was playing outside after school Monday.
Her family reported her missing at 5 p.m., saying they had last seen her at 3:45 p.m.
Thursday, Faye’s body was found somewhere in her neighborhood. The Lexington County Coroner’s Office confirms Faye’s body was found at 11 a.m. An autopsy will be performed on Feb. 15.
Officers have launched a homicide investigation related to her death but did not share how she died.
The Cayce Department of Public Safety, the Lexington County Coroner’s Office, and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division are investigating.
Police also said the body of a deceased male was found near Faye’s body and an investigation has started in that case. They did not, however, directly relate the cases at this time. That person has not been identified.
There is no danger to the community, police said. No arrests have been made at this time.
Thursday morning, news crews were alerted to intensified police activity in the Churchill Heights neighborhood. Yellow crime tape was put up near the neighborhood’s entrance as police officers and fire crews blocked anyone from coming in, even residents.
Earlier in the morning, investigators were spotted going through trash cans set out in the neighborhood.
Authorities got hundreds of tips from a hotline they created for the investigation.
Police said they searched the woods, several vehicles, went through surveillance video from the area and followed up by looking in landfills and searching neighbors’ homes and Faye’s home multiple times.
Wednesday morning, Cayce police updated the public with new video showing Faye getting off her school bus Monday afternoon, about an hour before her family said she was last seen in her yard.
It would be the last time she was seen alive.
Anyone with information that could help law enforcement is urged to contact 803-205-4444.
Faye was a bubbly, artistic child who loved to color and was always kind to others, her family said earlier in the week.
She was in first grade at Springdale Elementary School and many in the community have said her teachers and classmates adored her.
Faye also loved cats and playing outside. Her favorite colors were pink and purple.
Thursday, Lexington School District Two released the following statement regarding Faye’s death:
We are heart-broken with news of the death of Faye Swetlik, a first-grade student at Springdale Elementary, who went missing earlier this week. When the school community experiences a tragedy like the loss of a child, it deeply affects all of us.
Below please find information we sent to our families this afternoon. We will not have further public comment or interviews in coming days, as we focus on supporting our Springdale students, faculty and staff.
We thank all of the law enforcement agencies that have worked tirelessly this week to bring Faye home. As this investigation is ongoing, we ask anyone who might have information that would help law enforcement to call the hotline at 803-205-4444.
We ask everyone as well to please keep Faye and those closest to her in your thoughts.
People in the community, and even across the nation, have shared messages of mourning in reaction to Faye’s death.
This is an outcome no one wanted in the case. Investigators shared a heartfelt message on Facebook to explain that the case is far from over.
WHY WAS THERE NO AMBER ALERT?
Officials said the following criteria must be met for an Amber Alert to be activated:
-- a law enforcement agency or agencies must believe the child has been abducted,
-- if the child is under 17 and the agency believes they’re in immediate danger or serious harm,
-- all other possibilities for the disappearance have been reasonably excluded,
-- there is sufficient information available to give to the public,
-- the child’s name and other critical data have been entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).
Faye’s information was entered into NCIC as a missing person, officials said.
Police said the hotline for information is still open so the public can share any tips related to the case. That number is 803-205-4444.
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