Coty Scott Taylor was a 30-year-old man who has been identified as the lone suspect in the death of 6-year-old Faye Marie Swetlik in Cayce, South Carolina. Taylor was Faye Marie’s neighbor. He was found dead in their Churchill Heights neighborhood during the search for Faye on February 13, three days after she was abducted from her front yard, police said. Her body was also found that day.
Police said on February 18 that Taylor abducted Faye Marie on February 10 and killed her in the hours after she was taken. The local coroner’s office said an autopsy revealed Faye Marie died by asphyxiation and her death has been ruled a homicide. Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher said at a press conference, “My heart, like so many others, breaks for you… No parent should ever have to know such pain.” Authorities said Faye Marie’s body was moved from where she was killed to the area where her body was found.
The Cayce Department of Public Safety had previously said on February 13 that Taylor’s death was linked to Faye’s, but did not immediately reveal further details because they were waiting for autopsy results. Officials said Taylor was a neighbor and that he was found dead inside his home. The coroner’s office said he died by suicide as a result of an “incised wound to the neck.”
Here’s what you need to know about Coty Taylor and the death of Faye Marie Swetlik:
1. Evidence Found In Coty Taylor’s Trash Can Led Investigators to Faye Swetlik’s Body, Police Say
Police say they discovered Faye Swetlik’s body in a wooded area near Coty Taylor’s apartment. The evidence suggested she had not been in that area for very long, officials said. Officials have not commented on the state of her body when they found her or whether she had been buried.
Law enforcement officials found Faye’s body after discovering critical evidence from a trash can at Taylor’s home. The items included a child’s polka dot rainboot and a soup ladle with freshly-dug dirt on it. The evidence directed their attention back to a wooded area they had searched previously and that’s where they found Faye’s body.
Faye’s body was located around 10 a.m. on February 13 between her home and a nearby Napa Auto Body parts store. By 2 p.m. that day, officials made the announcement along with the news that an adult man, now identified as Taylor, had also been found.
Police say there is no danger to the public. Investigators are not actively seeking any persons of interest in Faye’s death and no arrests have been made. At a press conference on February 18, authorities said Taylor is the “sole person responsible” for Faye’s killing.
Police also confirmed that DNA linked Faye Marie Swetlik to Taylor’s apartment, and that video surveillance footage obtained by investigators showed Taylor “doing some suspicious things.” Police did not elaborate on what the video showed.
2. Coty Taylor Lived Around the Corner From Faye Swetlik & Police Say They Talked to Him During the Search For the Child
The Cayce Department of Public Safety revealed Coty Scott Taylor was found dead inside his home. He lived in a townhouse apartment located at 602 Picaddily Square. The Lexington County coroner says he died from a self-inflicted “incised wound to the neck” and the death has been ruled a suicide.
Police say during the three-day search for Faye, investigators had been inside Taylor’s home and had spoken with him about the case. On February 18, police confirmed that Taylor had been interviewed by officers during the search and he allowed them to enter his home and look around. That interaction with police occurred on Wednesday, February 12, a day before the girl’s body was located. Police believe she had already been killed.
Taylor’s apartment was located just steps away from Faye Swetlik’s home, according to a Google Maps search. Police also clarified that Taylor was not a relative of Faye’s family, and he was not friends with the Swetlik family, either. He was “merely a neighbor.”
3. Coty Taylor Did Not Have a Criminal History, Police Said
Coty Scott Taylor was not known to local law enforcement. The Cayce Department of Public Safety says he did not have a criminal history.
A search of court records for Lexington County reveals only a traffic violation from February 2018. Taylor was cited for failing to dim his lights and paid a fine.
A separate search in neighboring Richland County brings up at least four traffic violations that occurred in 2013 and 2015.
In June 2019, he was sued by a company called City Garage And Body Shop. Court records indicate the case involved a disagreement about payment and that the judge ruled in Taylor’s favor. The listed judgment amount was for zero dollars.
4. Coty Taylor Used to Work For Jimmy John’s & Graduated High School in Bluffton, South Carolina
Coty Scott Taylor used to work at a Jimmy John’s in the Columbia, South Carolina, area. Heavy called a restaurant located about 5 miles away from Taylor’s apartment in Cayce. The manager stated Taylor had worked at a different location that had been closed down for at least two years and then directed this reporter to contact the corporate office.
A spokesperson at the Jimmy John’s corporate office confirmed Taylor had previously been an employee, but that he had parted ways with Jimmy John’s in 2015. She said she could not disclose any additional information about Taylor.
A Facebook page for Coty Taylor was last updated in 2015. It states that Taylor had been a manager at a Jimmy John’s restaurant since July 2011. The page also includes that he attended the University of South Carolina at Columbia and studied math. But there is no record of him graduating, according to WLTX-TV. Taylor dropped out in 2009.
Taylor was a South Carolina native. WSAV-TV also confirmed Taylor graduated from Bluffton High School in 2007. He was involved with Model United Nations and was a member of the school’s robotics team. The State reported the team came in second place at a state competition in 2007 with a machine named “Fear the Evil of Computer Love.”
The News & Observer, citing the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce, reported Taylor graduated in the top 10 percent of his high school class.
Taylor may have been working at a Wingstop at the time of his death. A search of online records lists Wingstop as an employer, but the address associated with it was Taylor’s home address in Cayce.
5. Faye Swetlik’s Body Was Found In a Wooded Area & Her Death Has Been Classified as a Homicide
Faye Marie Swetlik’s body was found three days after she disappeared from her front yard. She was in the first grade at Springdale Elementary School. The security camera on Faye’s school bus recorded her riding home on the day she disappeared.
Police say Faye’s mother, Selena Collins, was home that afternoon. A neighbor further confirmed to WIS-TV that Collins greeted hee daughter at the bus stop around 2:50 p.m. They walked back to their apartment at 16 Londonderry Lane.
Faye ate a snack after getting home and at some point, decided to go outside to the yard to play. Collins told the police that she realized Faye was no longer in the yard around 3:45 p.m, reported WSOC-TV.
Police say Faye’s family members looked for the little girl on their own before contacting law enforcement. Collins called the police around 5 p.m., one hour and 15 minutes after Faye went missing.
Officers from the police department, the Lexington County Sheriff’s office, and the FBI had canvassed the neighborhood and its surrounding areas. The search had included looking in trash cans, a nearby landfill, homes, and vehicles.
Faye Marie Swetlik was described by relatives as a “bubbly and happy little girl” who always wanted to play and have fun.” In a prepared statement published by Fox Carolina the day after Faye disappeared, Faye’s family said the child knew better than to just wander away. The statement added that Faye knew to pay “attention to her surroundings.”
The family defended Faye’s mother as always being “very attentive” to her daughter. The statement included that Faye was very close to her grandmother, who was “distraught about what has happened.”
Approximately 250 law enforcement officers were involved in the thorough search for Faye Swetlik after she vanished on February 10. Officials went door-to-door, stopped drivers as they entered and exited the subdivision, and asked neighbors with security cameras to contact investigators. They also urged citizen volunteers to stand down and allow the professionals to handle the search. The FBI provided a helicopter and canine officers to help find her.
Police said Faye’s family, including her mother, her mother’s boyfriend, and her father were all cooperative with the investigation. The Cayce Department of Public Safety clarified that Faye lived with her mother. They did not specify whether the boyfriend lived at the apartment as well.
Officials never issued an Amber Alert in the case. Police said Faye Swetlik’s disappearance had not met the specific federal requirements. Amber Alerts are issued when there is evidence to suggest a child has been kidnapped and there is “enough descriptive information about the victim and the abduction for law enforcement to issue an AMBER Alert to assist in the recovery of the child.”