Vigil held for murdered mother, daughter

By Nikki Gaskins

SANGAREE, S.C. (WCIV) -- With candles in hand, nearly 50 people paused to remember two lives lost this week to violence. Others also placed flowers and stuffed toys at the doorstep of the victims' Kershaw Road home.

"It's heartbreaking," said Jessica Giffon, a good friend of Ashley Kaney. "She touched so many lives."

On Tuesday, deputies with Berkeley County say Kaney's boyfriend, Jacob Philip, strangled her and her daughter, Riley Burdock, in separate bedrooms.

Giffon said she last spoke to Kaney on Friday.

"She was telling me how excited she was to be going on a date with Jacob because she finally got a sitter for Riley," she said. "She was going to get all dolled up, straighten her hair, put on a nice dress."

While she said Kaney's relationship with her boyfriend was rocky at times, she never believed her life was in danger.

Kaney and Philip had been dating for about five months.

"There is no way we could have ever predicted this -not in a million years," said Giffon.

Melissa Danner's daughter went to school with Riley and last saw her on Friday at Sangaree Intermediate's third grade dance.

"She was just smiling, happy go-lucky and ready to request a song," said Danner. "People just need to know that domestic violence is not okay."

The same night as the candlelight vigil in Sangaree, family and friends held a separate candlelight vigil in Aiken.

"Just because her family is in Aiken, we here, too, love them and support them and want their family to know that they were loved here as well," said Danner.

Even though her friend was not physically here to see how loved Kaney and her daughter were, Giffon said she felt her two shining stars here in spirit.

"I feel a part of me is gone, and I need you back," said Giffon.

A memorial service will take place for Ashley and Riley this Sunday afternoon at Cedar Creek Church in Aiken.