Officials: No evidence of abduction during investigation into missing 6-year-old from S.C.

By  | 

CAYCE, S.C. (WIS/Gray News) - State and federal law enforcement agencies have gotten involved in the search for a missing 6-year-old girl from South Carolina.

Six-year-old Faye Marie Swetlik, from Cayce, South Carolina, was last seen in her yard around 3:45 p.m. Monday. The FBI is now involved in the search. (Source: CDPS/WIS)

At this time, investigators have not found any evidence of an abduction, officials said during an update Tuesday evening.

Faye Marie Swetlik lives with her mother at their home on Londonderry Square in Cayce. That’s in the Churchill Heights neighborhood, off Highway 302.

Her family said they last saw her playing in the yard Monday after school around 3:45 p.m. They reported her missing to police around 5 p.m.

THE LATEST ON THE SEARCH

In the latest update from police, officials said Faye’s mother, her mother’s boyfriend and Faye’s father are all cooperating with the investigation.

“Her parents are anxiously awaiting her return,” Director of the Cayce Department of Public Safety, Byron Snellgrove, said.

At this time, investigators have not found any evidence that Faye was abducted, Snellgrove said.

Right now the search for Faye remains focused on her neighborhood.

“We’ve not ruled anything out,” Snellgrove said. “We’re not sure that she hasn’t just walked off and is somewhere in the woods or at a neighbor’s house. Possibly in distress or fallen or something like that.”

Tuesday afternoon, WIS reporter Caroline Hecker saw FBI agents scouring the property where Faye was last seen.

Snellgrove said they asked the FBI for help because this case is important to them.

Investigators have towed two cars away from the property. Snellgrove said the cars could be useful to the investigation, but didn’t provide more details.

Officials said they have found some useful surveillance footage so far.

Any video that was recorded in the area between 2 and 5 p.m. Monday is of interest to the police, no matter what it shows, Snellgrove said.

Anyone with video or information should call the tipline at 803-205-4444.

The tipline was set up Tuesday morning has netted them about 75 leads so far, Snellgrove said. They’ve already followed up on about 50 of them and Snellgrove said they are going to exhaust all leads.

THE BASICS

Faye is a white girl with shoulder-length strawberry blonde hair and blue eyes. She’s 3-foot-10-inches tall and weighs about 65 pounds. Officials said she has a speech impediment and is lactose intolerant.

She was last seen Monday afternoon wearing a black shirt with the word ‘Peace’ on it in neon colors (seen above), a floral print skirt and polka dot rain boots.

Snellgrove said Faye’s hair is shorter than in the pictures they have shared with the public so far. It is more like shoulder-length at this time.

A flyer from the Cayce Department of Public Safety said they contacted all known relatives of the child, who have all said they have not seen her since she was reported missing.

Police have taped off several areas around Faye’s home.

FBI agents searched the backyard and porch area Tuesday afternoon. SLED said it is lending air units and K-9 units and WIS reporters did see SLED helicopters in the area.

In all, more than 250 law enforcement officers from different agencies are involved with the search Tuesday, officials said.

Agents have gone door-to-door asking for information and are working to interview as many neighbors as possible.

Officials said they do not want the public’s help with the search, but again, they have requested any Ring doorbell or other surveillance video from neighbors that could help the investigation.

People should call the hotline at 803-205-4444 if they see Faye, have any video or have any tips.

MORE ABOUT FAYE

A close family friend told WIS that Faye’s family is understandably not doing well, but they remain optimistic she will be found.

The family friend also shared heartwarming details about Faye, like what a bubbly, artistic and kind child she is. They said Faye loves to color and draw, and eat freeze-pops after school.

She attends first grade at Springdale Elementary School and the family friend said her teachers adore her.

Snellgrove echoed that during the news conference Tuesday evening, saying her teacher and classmates love her.

“Faye loves dresses, fancy shoes, spending time with her family, cats and playing outside,” Snellgrove said.

A neighbor whose son rides the school bus with Faye said she saw the child when she picked up her son from the bus stop Monday. That was around 2:50 p.m.

The neighbor said Faye’s mother was also there waiting, and walked Faye back to their house, which is just yards away.

Neighbors told WIS that Faye often plays outside on her family’s front porch.

Family friends also said Faye would not willingly go off with a stranger, that she was raised to know better than to do that.

Anxiety about Faye’s disappearance is not only affecting her family, but neighbors, as well, who said they were nervous about putting their children on the bus Tuesday morning.

WHY IS 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 has been entered into NCIC as a missing person, officials said.

Community members told WIS they are organizing a prayer vigil for Faye on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Trinity Baptist Church, located at 2003 Charleston Highway. It was originally planned for Airport High School, but was relocated due to weather.

Copyright 2020 WIS via Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.