‘I miss her so much’: Faye Swetlik’s mom turning pain into purpose year after girl’s slaying

CAYCE, S.C. — The grief is sometimes heavy and raw for Selena Collins.

“I miss her so much,” she told Channel 9 anchor Allison Latos. “Sometimes, what hurts the most is not being able to see Faye change the world.”

Last year, on Feb. 10, Collins’ 6-year-old daughter, Faye Swetlik, went outside to play after she got home from school. What should have been a normal weekday turned into a day of tragedy and heartbreak. It was the day her daughter was murdered.

“I couldn’t find her,” she said. “I started going door to door, down the street.”

The search for Faye expanded to involve a massive police effort, with officers scouring the Churchill Heights neighborhood in Cayce, South Carolina for nearly three days. According to the Cayce Department of Public Safety, more than 300 first responders assisted with the search.

Faye’s body was found in the woods nearby.

Past Coverage:

Evidence found in a neighbor’s garbage led police to her killer, Coty Taylor. Taylor’s body was found inside a home close by. He had taken his own life.

“I didn’t know him. I had never really seen him before,” Collins said. “There are questions I will never have the answers for. All I know is I am incredibly angry about the lack of justice.”

[PHOTOS: Faye Swetlik]

While the pain will never pass completely, Collins said she’s found comfort in the immense community support.

On a dreary, rainy day, a bright pink bench in Faye’s memory stands out at the city park. It’s a bold reminder of a headstrong and happy little girl, who loved painting rocks to spread joy and smiles.

“Faye really wanted to be a teacher. She loved helping other people and was inquisitive, adventurous, and she was always smiling,” Collins said.

Collins and her family hope that people will remember Faye’s smile and her love and compassion for others.

“Faye was kind to everyone that she met,” her grandmother said. “Our world will never be the same without Faye. She was truly the light of our lives.”

Collins treasures pictures and videos of her daughter. She tries to find joy in the moments that made Faye smile and she hopes her honesty encourages people to embrace each day and each other just like Faye did.

“Everybody is fighting their own battle. And you never really know what someone else is going through,” she said. “Do everything in your life with kindness, the way that she would.”