Family remembers Little River woman found dead

akelley@thesunnews.comMay 10, 2013 

— Tears filled the eyes of Amber Marie Berbiglia’s family and friends during a vigil Friday on Old Sanders Drive, where the woman’s body was found last week.

In front of a memorial cross and several flowers, with crime scene tape still hanging on a fence, Jackie Open begged for information about her 23-year-old niece’s death.

“Please, anybody give us whatever information you can,” she said. “We’ve got to find the person that did this to Amber, to her family.”

Investigators are still working to learn what happened to Berbiglia a week after she was found dead on the side of the road underneath the Robert Edge Parkway. Sgt. Robert Kegler, with Horry County police, said Friday there are still no suspects in the case.

Originally from New York Berbiglia was living in the Little River area and studying at Horry-Georgetown Technical College with plans to be a costume designer, said her aunt Suzanne Henclewski.

Henclewski said her niece would light up a room as soon as she walked in and was always smiling, vivacious and energetic.

Her grandmother, Virginia Averill, said Berbiglia had no enemies and the family can’t figure out why anyone would want to hurt her or what she was doing on Old Sanders Road.

“She was a vibrant, happy-go-lucky, thoughtful, kind person,” Averill said. “She loved everybody. Everything just got crushed within seconds.”

Berbiglia’s mother was overcome with grief during the vigil.

“I’ll never be the same again,” she said. “I will be strong for you. I will follow every rainbow for you because I know how much you loved rainbows.”

Berbiglia was going to marry Jose Tolsar this summer.

“They had a fairy tale romance,” Henclewski said. “She met him on a school trip in England.”

Tolsar said he fell in love immediately. The two had been dating for the last two years.

Berbiglia’s family showed Tolsar pictures of her in the gown she purchased for their wedding a month ago.

“I had already been dreaming of seeing her on our wedding day every night,” he said. “She was so beautiful.”

Berbiglia’s body was spotted by a passerby about 4:30 p.m. May 3 at 2368 Old Sanders Drive. Police initially thought she had been shot, but an autopsy revealed there was no gunshot wound, said Horry County Deputy Coroner Tony Hendrick.

Hendrick said Berbiglia died from a blunt force trauma to the head. A weapon has not been identified.

Anyone with information can call the Horry County police tip line at 915-TIPS.

Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381, or follow her at

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