CAYCE, S.C. — It’s been an extremely emotional week for the small South Carolina community of Cayce. Even the city’s Director of Public Safety was brought to tears as he announced on Thursday that 6-year-old Faye Swetlik was found dead.
“It is with extremely heavy hearts that we announce that we found the body of Faye Swetlik,” he said.
Many in the community say they’re absolutely devastated that the nearly four-day search came to such a heartbreaking end.
“It leaves you speechless, it really does, because that’s a child, an innocent child, it’s very heart-wrenching,” said neighbor Tona Byrd.
Agencies worked around the clock to find Faye, with dozens from the community stepping in to help.
“She hasn’t even lived her life. She just got here and even though the world sucks right now, she’s just a little girl. Who would want to hurt a child?” Lynn Hornsby asked.
Investigators say Faye was reported missing Monday. On Wednesday, a video was released showing Swetlik getting off the bus from school. They were some of the last moments she was seen.
Family says she went outside to play and was never seen again. People from all over the small South Carolina community were hoping for a different result.
“I’m glad that the search is over. Of course, no one wants this to be the outcome, but it shows their dedication and how much time they put into finding her because this could have been a case where next year we were still trying to put the pieces together,” Byrd said.
The missing persons case is now a homicide investigation. Police say a man was also found dead in the neighborhood with Swetlik. They have not revealed the connection between the two, leaving many in the community looking for answers.
“Who would want to hurt a child? I can’t imagine. My heart breaks for the grandparents, the mom. I don’t even know what happened. I just know if it were me I wouldn’t even know what to do with myself,” Hornsby said.
The neighborhood remains an active scene and a small memorial is growing against the sign at the entrance. A vigil is expected to take place at 10 a.m. Saturday. FOX 46 will work to bring you more details on the event.