S.C. authorities investigating death of 6-year-old missing girl

A Cayce police officer approaches a vehicle at a road block near an entrance to the Churchill Heights neighborhood Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, in Cayce, S.C., (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

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UPDATED 3:47 PM PT — Saturday, February 15, 2020

The tragic discovery of a missing girl’s body left South Carolina authorities with more questions than answers.

“It is with extremely heavy hearts that we are announcing that we have found the body that the coroner has identified as Faye Marie Swetlik.” stated Director of Public Safety Byron Snelgrove.

A single piece of evidence lead South Carolina authorities to the grim discovery of a young girl’s remains, as well as a local man’s body who is now considered a suspect in her murder.

This undated photo provided by the Cayce Department of Public Safety shows Faye Marie Swetlik, Feb. 10, 2020. (Cayce Department of Public Safety via AP)

Cayce Police found the body of 6-year-old Faye in a wooded area Thursday near her family’s home.

The victim’s mother reported her missing Monday afternoon. Faye was last being seen playing in her front yard shortly after returning home from her elementary school.

“I checked all the houses in my neighborhood, and anybody that’s actually answered,” stated mother Celina Collins, “They’re out looking for her too.”

Efforts to locate Faye picked up when investigators found a piece of evidence in the trash can of Faye’s neighbor, 30-year-old Coty Scott Taylor. He was later found deceased in his home, though authorities have not yet revealed his cause of death. Taylor was also previously questioned by Cayce officials in the days leading up to his death.

However, police have revealed he was not known to the victim or a relative.

While speaking Friday, Sgt. Evan Antley was visibly emotional as he discussed details of Faye’s missing persons case, what is now being investigated as a homicide.

“Again, this has been a tragic situation for our community, for our department and for everyone who has been following the story of Faye Marie Swetlik,” stated Antley. “We want to thank the community for their tips, without them, we may not be where we are.”

At this time, officials are keeping details of both deaths classified until the results of both autopsies in the coming days.

RELATED: Colo. Community Joins Search For Missing 11-Year-Old Boy

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French officials confirm first coronavirus death in Europe

French lab scientists in hazmat gear inserting liquid in test tube manipulate potentially infected patient samples at Pasteur Institute in Paris, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

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UPDATED 7:00 AM PT — Saturday, February 15, 2020

Officials from the French Health Ministry reported an 80-year-old Chinese tourist succumbed to the coronavirus on Saturday, marking the first virus-related death in Europe since the outbreak began. Up to this point, the only deaths outside of China have been reported in Hong Kong, Japan and the Philippines.

The man’s daughter also contracted the virus, but is expected to be released soon. The man and his daughter were both from the Hubei province in China, which officials are calling the epicenter of the outbreak.

“He was hospitalized at the Bichat Hospital under strict isolation measures on January 25th,” stated Health Minister Agnès Buzyn. “His condition deteriorated rapidly, he was in a critical state for several days and he was in intensive care.”

France has confirmed 11 cases of coronavirus so far.

French lab scientists are silhouetted working in a lab at Pasteur Institute in Paris, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Meanwhile, President Trump has applauded his administration for its efforts to contain the coronavirus. The president shared a poll during his remarks to the National Border Patrol Council on Friday, which said a majority of American voters approve of his handling of the virus.

This came after he previously received criticism for temporarily banning residents of the Hubei province.

“’61 percent of the voters approve of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus,’” stated President Trump. “I was criticized by a lot of people at the beginning because we were the first, we’d never done it before, we closed our borders to certain areas.”

As of Friday night, there are 15 people in the U.S. infected with the virus. The president said many of them are getting better and reiterated his theory the virus could weaken as the weather gets warmer.

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Lakers pay tribute to Kobe Bryant at first game after his death

The jerseys of late Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant, right, and his daughter Gianna are draped on the seats the two last sat on at Staples Center, prior to the Lakers’ NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Los Angeles, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

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UPDATED 11:10 AM PT — Saturday, February 1, 2020

The Los Angeles Lakers paid tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant during their first game since his tragic death. Before Friday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, number eight and number 24 jerseys covered the 20,000 seats of the Staples Center arena, which is notably called “the house that Kobe built.”

Lakers star LeBron James stepped forward and delivered a moving speech, in which he praised Bryant “straight from the heart.”

Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James, wearing a No. 24 jersey, speaks about Kobe Bryant prior to an NBA game between the Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Head Coach Frank Vogel said earlier this week the game would be an “important night” for the team and Lakers Nation.

“I would imagine it probably makes it a little harder than an ordinary game, with all the emotions and all that stuff, but we shouldn’t do it any other way,” he said. “It’s the right thing to do, and it will be an important night for our franchise and for Laker Nation.”

Despite support from fans in the arena and around the world, the Lakers were unable to defeat the Blazers. They lost 127 to 119. However, they do remain first in the Western Conference.

Los Angeles Lakers players stand during a moment of silence for late NBA player Kobe Bryant prior to an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

RELATED: All-Stars To Wear Special Uniforms, Patches To Honor Bryant

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After Trump’s 9th Circuit pick confirmed, Biden warns of 2nd term ‘death grip’ on federal courts: report

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While Democrats in Congress have been conducting impeachment hearings in recent weeks, President Trump has been filling judicial vacancies in the federal court system at a rapid clip – and that appears to have potential 2020 opponent Joe Biden worried.

“Look at how the federal court system is changing,” Biden told a group in Las Vegas on Tuesday night, according to a reporter for ABC News. “Four more years of the same kind of appointments, you’re going to see a court system that is fundamentally, for two generations, locked in a way that’s a death grip that does not make any sense.

“It’s as if Robert Bork would be the chief justice, God rest his soul,” Biden added, referring to the Ronald Reagan Supreme Court nominee whose appointment Democrats blocked in 1987. Bork died in 2012 at age 85.

TRUMP NOMINATES WAVE OF CALIFORNIA JUDGES, IN FRESH BID TO RESHAPE COURTS

In a 53-40 vote Tuesday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Trump appointee Patrick Bumatay, a San Diego federal prosecutor, to a seat on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, making him the 49th circuit appointee to be confirmed under the Trump administration, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Trump was able to get Bumatay confirmed to the San Francisco-based court despite opposition to the nomination from California’s two Democratic U.S. senators, Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris.

Bumatay, 41, a son of Filipino immigrants, is openly gay and is raising twin daughters with his husband, the newspaper reported.

The Senate is expected to vote on another 9th Circuit nominee — Lawrence Van Dyke, a former solicitor general for Nevada – on Wednesday, potentially giving Trump another appointee on the traditionally liberal-leaning court, the Union-Tribune reported.

TRUMP-SHAPED 9TH CIRCUIT HANDS WHITE HOUSE MAJOR WIN ON ASYLUM POLICY

When the Senate confirmed a Trump pick for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in late November, that court became the third to shift to a Republican-appointed majority since the president took office in January 2017.

In an 80-15 vote, the Senate confirmed Barbara Lagoa to the 11th Circuit seat previously held by Judge Stanley Marcus, a Clinton appointee who sat on the appeals court that handles cases from Florida, Georgia and Alabama since 1997.

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Lagoa, the first Cuban-American woman confirmed to the 11th Circuit, tilted that court, which was previously split between six Republican appointees and six Democratic appointees, to a GOP-appointed majority.

Trump's nominees alone now hold five of the 12 seats on the 11th Circuit.

During the previous week, confirmation of Steven Menashi, Trump’s pick for the 2nd Circuit, flipped that court to a Republican majority.

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Trump has also flipped the 3rd Circuit.

Lagoa was Trump's 48th nominee confirmed to a circuit court seat, giving the president double the number of circuit judges then-President Barack Obama had gotten through by the same point in his presidency, according to a count by the Heritage Foundation.

Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this story.

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