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As community grieves loss of Faye Swetlik, memorial grows outside school

Classmates and their families left flowers, balloons and toys outside Springdale Elementary in remembrance of Faye.

CAYCE, S.C. — A makeshift memorial is growing outside Springdale Elementary School, where six-year-old Faye Swetlik was in the first grade. 

Classmates and their families left flowers and strangers stopped by from out of town to leave tokens of remembrance.

"When we heard that, it was probably the worst thing that you could here," said Jennifer Livingston, who works at Lizard's Thicket off Airport Boulevard.

She says just days ago, law enforcement combed through their property during the search for Faye.

"I see the SLED agents out back searching the trash areas where air conditioners and everything else is stored," said Livingston.

Thursday afternoon, as all were hoping for the best, we heard the worst. Cayce investigators found a body the coroner identified as Faye's, and they're now treating this case as a homicide.

"It was just terrible to see that she wouldn't be coming home to us," said Livingston. "One of my cashiers was crying. It was just a shock to us all that that was the outcome."

She says their restaurant is staying busy with orders dedicated to feeding law enforcement and city leaders working on the case.

"I know my family was actually at Springdale Elementary placing flowers on school campus," said Pastor Micah Merchant of Trinity Baptist Church in Cayce.

Credit: WLTX

Trinity Baptist held a vigil Tuesday for Faye, then an open prayer Thursday night.

"I've had a chance to meet the grandmother in person. Just seeing the horror in her eyes at our prayer vigil we had a few days ago," said Merchant. "I have three children at Springdale Elementary where she goes to school. So having that conversation with them was incredibly difficult not knowing the how, not knowing the why."

Until we learn the "why", many wonder how they will move on.

"You go on," said Merchant. "You just understand there are horrific things in this life that happen to us all at some point, so you just explain this is life. There's evil in the world and this is why we trust so much in God - that He's gonna protect and guide us."

For now, church leaders plan to love on the teachers, students and staff at Springdale Elementary who are grieving the loss of a stellar student.

"Really sad right now, we're hurting of course. We're gonna do our best to be there for our community, and I know our community will be there for everyone else as well," said Merchant.