CAYCE, S.C. (CNN) — The death of 6-year-old Faye Swetlik, who vanished outside her home in South Carolina this week, is “linked” to a neighbor whose body was discovered shortly after hers was found, police say.
The corpse of Coty Scott Taylor, 30, was found in his residence about 150 feet from the girl’s house, Cayce Department of Public Safety Sgt. Evan Antley told reporters Friday.
Faye went missing Monday. Her body was found Thursday and identified by the coroner.
“Evidence and our investigation does link these two together,” Antley said of the deaths. “I can confirm that he was a neighbor, that he was not a relative. He was not a friend. He was merely a neighbor.”
Antley said investigators had spoken to Taylor, who had no criminal history and was unknown to law enforcement, soon after the girl went missing.
“We had been inside his home,” Antley said.
Investigators located “a critical item of evidence” in a trash can at Taylor’s home, Antley said.
Her body was found in a wooded area between her family’s house and an auto parts store, Antley said. Taylor’s body was discovered a short time later.
Police provided no details on the condition of his body or cause of death.
Police are treating the girl’s death as a homicide. Her autopsy will be conducted Saturday, according to the Lexington County Coroner’s Office.
Taylor’s autopsy is also scheduled for Saturday.
Police assured residents the area is safe.
She arrived safely at home, but went missing
The first grader was last seen playing in her front yard after taking the bus home from Springdale Elementary School on Monday, Antley said. More than 250 officers and investigators spent the past few days searching for her.
But sometime around 3:45 p.m., her family realized Faye was missing, he said.
Police were called around 5 p.m. The search initially involved more than 100 officers, including dogs. By Tuesday, more than 250 were searching and the FBI was assisting.