Officials are now treating this case as a homicide, Snellgrove said. No arrests have been made and the community is not in danger.
An autopsy is scheduled for Saturday at the Medical University of South Carolina, according to the Lexington County Coroner’s Office.
Authorities also found the body of a deceased male in the Churchill Heights neighborhood, where Faye lived with her mother, Snellgrove said Thursday. As of Friday morning, they have not released his identification.
Cayce officials did not provide any other details on his identification or the nature of his death and if it relates to the case, but said they are still investigating.
“We would like to remind you that our investigators are processing a large amount of physical evidence,” Caye Department of Public Safety officials said on Facebook Thursday night. “This is a highly methodical process, so please bear with us as we will continue to communicate with you as much as possible and in the same manner for which you have become accustomed.
As we weep, we work.”
Authorities have not released details of her death. At this point we do not know how she died, when she died, or if her death is related to the man who was found dead.
“Now begins the investigation into her homicide and the Cayce Department of Public Safety, along with local, state and federal law enforcement partners, will continue to work together to bring this case to a close,” Cayce Department of Public Safety officials posted on Facebook Thursday.
Snellgrove did not take any questions at the press conference.
More than 250 officers from over 20 law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), searched tirelessly throughout the Churchill Heights neighborhood over the last two days.
Officials have kept their search extremely limited over the course of their investigation —stretching just past the 1-mile radius of the Churchill Heights neighborhood. The neighborhood has been shut down by police in the last few hours with no one being allowed in or out, WIS TV reported.
The neighborhood is about about 2 miles from the Columbia airport and less than a mile west of I-26.
Before her body was discovered, Faye was last seen playing outside of her home on Londonderry Lane in Cayce around 3:45 p.m. Monday. Cayce Department of Public Safety officials said Faye rode the bus home yesterday and arrived at her home “like any other day.”
Faye’s mother called 911 around 5 p.m. Monday after she realized her daughter was missing.
Faye was a first grader at Springdale Elementary School in West Columbia. Since she went missing Monday, her story has made national headlines and captured the hearts of thousands across the nation.
Cayce Police Chief Byron Snellgrove described Faye as ‘bubbly.”
“…Everybody loves Faye,” he said in an earlier press conference. “When she walks into a room, Faye lights it up.”
Cayce Department of Public Safety officials have said multiple times that Faye’s mother, her mother’s boyfriend, father, and grandmother have been cooperative throughout the investigation.
Evan Antley of the Cayce Department of Public Safety confirmed in an earlier press conference Thursday morning that investigators towed two cars from the property where Faye went missing earlier this week.
“I can’t share with you details on anything that may or may not have been found in those vehicles,” Antley said before the body was found Thursday, citing the ongoing investigation.
He said investigators also searched Faye’s home and placed an officer at the home since she went missing at 5 p.m. on Monday, which he said was typical for an investigation of this nature.
Asked why Faye’s family has not appeared in front of the media, Antley said Thursday morning, before the body was found, again that the family was cooperating.
“Some people want their privacy in these types of things,” Antley said. “Being a father myself I can’t begin to speculate where my mind would be if I was in their shoes.
Wednesday evening, Cayce Department of Public Safety officials released photos of two vehicles that were in the Churchill Heights neighborhood when Faye was last seen. Antley confirmed Thursday that the Chevy Trailblazer’s driver has been identified, while the Silver sudan has not been identified. Police have not said how the cars relate to the investigation.
Cayce Department of Public Safety officials asked anyone in the Churchill Heights community to contact the police if they have any surveillance systems such as Ring that could have captured activities in the neighborhood between 2-5 p.m. Monday.
Investigators have received hundreds of tips and hours of video surveillance footage from neighbors in the last three days. They encourage anyone with information on the case to call the hotline at 803-205-4444 .
The investigation is ongoing as authorities piece together what exactly happened to 6-year-old Faye.
An AMBER Alert was not issued in this case because SLED has very specific criteria for activating such notifications based on the Department of Justice guidelines. We explained that further in this post. Cayce Department of Public Safety officials said 24-hours into the investigation that they found no evidence that Faye was abducted.
A press conference is scheduled for 11:45 a.m. Friday.