A three day search for a missing 6-year-old girl in the US has ended in tragedy with the discovery of her body in a wooded area after vital evidence in a rubbish truck led police to her location.
Faye Swetlik vanished while playing in her South Carolina front yard on Monday afternoon, local time.
Police and FBI launched a frantic search for the girl, speaking with neighbours and combing the area for clues.
Sergeant Evan Antley said in a media conference a “critical” piece of evidence “that would have been listed on her missing persons flyer” was found in a garbage truck, which led to the location of the little girl’s body on Thursday, local time.
It was not revealed what the evidence was, but it likely relates to the clothes the girl was last seen wearing, which were listed on the missing poster.
Investigators are now chasing new leads after the neighbour of 6-year-old Faye turned up dead.
Neighbour found dead linked to girl’s murder
Moments after finding Faye’s remains, neighbour Coty Scott Taylor, 30, was found deceased in his home.
Police confirmed they had spoken to Taylor during the early stages of investigating the disappearance of Faye but would not disclose what led them back to his residence after finding the little girls body.
Sergeant Antley told media that investigators “felt we needed to go back to and look for more evidence,” after initially speaking with Taylor but would not elaborate further.
Some local media outlets have reported evidence was found in Taylor’s rubbish.
“He was a neighbour. He was not a relative or a friend. He was merely a neighbour ... Taylor's house to Faye’s house are 100 to 150 feet (30 - 45 metres) from each other,” Sergeant Antley said.
Police have confirmed the deaths of Taylor and Faye “are linked” but did not disclose further information.
Autopsies are being conducted on both bodies.
Sergeant Antley told media that there is no active threat to the community and revealed they have no current suspects.
“We have no suspects at this time. We have made no arrests,” he said.
Lexington School District, where Faye was a student, issued a statement to media expressing the grief felt by students and staff.
“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,” the statement reported by ABC News read.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.