Victim was with family, boyfriend in apartment before fire

By Eric

GOOSE CREEK, SC (WCIV) -- A Lowcountry family is trying to cope after the sudden loss of two family members.

Morgan Abernathy, 19, and Samuel Garbe, 4, died Thursday in a fire at the Pine Harbour apartments in Goose Creek. The two were cousins and Abernathy was babysitting the little boy at the time.

The funeral for 4-year-old Samuel was Monday. Memorial services for Abernathy will be Wednesday. Thursday's fire took their lives and left an entire community in shock. The fire destroyed more than a dozen apartments and left dozens more homeless.

Abernathy was in unit D-80 when the fire started. Her uncle, Allen Pierson, says the grief has overwhelmed the teen's mother who lived in this apartment.

"She's taking it real hard, Morgan's father is taking it real hard," Pierson said. "The whole family is hurting, losing not one but two, our 19-year-old niece and 4-year-old cousin all in the same day."

According to Pierson, after the fire DNA testing was used to identify Abernathy, who was never able to make it out.

"They found her holding Samuel, and I just know they found her in the apartment," said Pierson.

A report released on the fire also says Abernathy was with her boyfriend, Michael Still, at the time.

Still, who was named in the report, has been questioned by investigators but nothing more.

Pierson tells ABC News 4, Still and Abernathy had dated for seven years.

"They were engaged to be married next year, he loved Morgan to death."

Pierson and his family spent Monday working on a collage for Abernathy's funeral. It provided therapy for a loss that in the moment is too hard to face.

"Anything to keep our minds off the reality of what it really is," said family member, June Guyer. "We're to the point, we half to be strong for the family because they're just so broken, they're just so broken."

According to the report released on the fire, Abernathy was with her mother and father, and another man in the apartment during the fire.

An official cause for the fire has not been released.

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