Town of Springdale dedicates park bench, tree in honor of Faye Swetlik

The six-year-old who tragically passed away in February used to play at Felton C Benton Park in Springdale

SPRINGDALE, S.C. (WOLO) — A park in Springdale now has a lasting tribute to a six-year-old girl who tragically lost her life earlier this year.

The Springdale Police Department hosted a ceremony Tuesday night in which the community dedicated a bench and planted a tree at Felton C. Benton Park in honor of Faye Swetlik. 

Authorities say Swetlik was kidnapped and murdered after she was last seen playing in her yard back in February.

The search for Swetlik lasted three days, and involved hundreds of officers from the federal, state, and local levels.

Seven months later, some say they will never forget Faye’s love for life and unyielding kindness to anyone she met.

“She was the tiny little prism that bent the white light and spread the color into the lives of those that she came in contact with,” said Sandy Harrelson, the former School Resource Officer at Springdale Elementary School, where Faye was a first grader.

At Felton C. Benton Park, a place where Faye used to come and play, she now has a visual reminder of her memory, in the form of a tree that absorbs her light from above, and a bench that reflects Faye’s love for bright colors.

“This dedication and proclamation is yet another step in not letting her beautiful, radiant light dim, so we can continue to remember and celebrate her life,” said Chief Andrew Richbourg of the Springdale Police Department.

Several of Faye’s family members, including her grandmother, Ruth Collins, came to the ceremony.

Collins said the community support, now including a living memorial to her granddaughter, has been a powerful source of brightness in a dark time.

“It’s a mixture of everything, I was happy, I was sad, the anger’s gone thank goodness, but wow, I’m just overwhelmed with it,” Collins said after the ceremony. “I’m happy so many people are still thinking about our baby. It’s amazing and I’m so grateful, so very grateful.”

Felton C. Benton Park is located at 2915 Platt Springs Road in Springdale.

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