Friends gather in Sangaree to remember slain woman, daughter
SUMMERVILLE — Jessica Griffon couldn’t attend a candlelight vigil in Aiken on Friday in memory of her friend, Ashley Kaney, and her daughter, Riley Burdick, so she decided to have a simultaneous event in front of Kaney’s home in Sangaree.
Nearly 100 people showed up, crowding the small front yard of the home where Kaney, 26, and her 8-year-old daughter were found slain on Tuesday.
Kaney’s boyfriend, Jacob Philip, 22, of Virginia Beach, is charged with their murders.
“I am touched beyond words,” Griffon said of the crowd Friday. “I didn’t expect so many people.”
Griffon, along with friends Amber Wiggins and Alyssa Longstreet, met about a year and a half ago through their husbands and boyfriends, who are in the Navy. The three women organized the vigil together.
“Because our husbands work crazy hours, all we really have are each other,” said Griffon, who frequently spent weekends at Kaney’s home.
Many of those in attendance carried candles or glow-in-the dark sticks and bracelets as they gathered in front of a tri-fold poster filled with photos of the woman and her daughter.
Several said they didn’t know them personally, but wanted to attend.
Melissa Danner, a mother who volunteers at Sangaree Intermediate School, where Riley attended third grade, said she often saw the girl at school.
“I am here for every woman who ever lost her life to domestic violence,” said Danner, who pointed out that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. She led the crowd in a prayer for the victims, their families and Philip.
Several friends talked about the last time they spoke to the pair.
For Griffon, that was a couple of days before their deaths.
“I was on a plane to New York and she was telling me how excited she was about going on a date with Jacob because she finally got a sitter for Riley,” Griffon said. “She was going to get all dolled up, straighten her hair, get a nice dress ... There is no way we would have predicted this. Not in a million years. This never, ever have crossed any of our minds, not even the people that Jacob worked with every day.”
Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or www.facebook.com/brindge.