Michelle Robinson just wants closure in the death of her daughter.
Amber Berbiglia, 23, was found under the Robert Edge Parkway in North Myrtle Beach three years ago. Her killer, the circumstances of her death and most details of the case remain unsolved.
Robinson has spent the last three years wrestling with those unsolved mysteries surrounding the death of her daughter, and she spent Tuesday afternoon in her Little River home remembering Berbiglia’s big smile, hearty laugh and vibrant personality.
“There’s not one picture where she’s not smiling,” Robinson said. “She always brought in the light.”
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The 23-year-old was found near her car under the Robert Edge Parkway at Old Sanders Drive on May 3, 2013 by someone passing by, police said. Her car was running and her phone – with missed call and text alerts – was just a few inches from her fingers.
It’s like my back is against the wall, and I’ll always be wondering what happened.
Michelle Robinson, Amber Berbiglia’s mother
Berbiglia had been severely injured before police found her, but she was dead by the time police arrived, detectives said. There were no witnesses on scene.
Berbiglia was originally from New York and was a student at Horry Georgetown Technical College with plans to become a costume designer. She was engaged to be married that summer and had been dating her boyfriend for two years.
“I want the case opened again – she deserves it,” Robinson said.
Robinson said she’s gone through most of her grieving already, but not a day goes by where she doesn’t remember her daughter. Sometimes, on her worst days, she tends to a little garden outside her home dedicated to Berbiglia.
Whatever gets her through the day, through the week, through the years.
“I’ve learned I’ve got to go forward, because that’s what she’d want me to do,” she said.
Neighbors remember Berbiglia for her kindness to anyone she’s ever met. Molly Edwards, who lives in the same complex as Robinson, said Berbiglia used to visit her every single day just to make sure she was doing well.
“She was just a very nice person,” Edwards said. “There’s nobody else like her.”
She’s come down here and check on my every day. Without fail, every day.
Molly Edwards, Robinson’s neighbor
Horry County authorities initially reported Berbiglia was shot, but an autopsy revealed she died from blunt force trauma. A weapon has not been identified, and police have not released a motive in her death.
“Someone has to know something, someone has to have seen something,” Robinson said.
Detectives ruled out Berbiglia’s family and immediate friends as suspects in 2013, though police did follow several leads but made no arrests, according to Lt. Raul Denis with Horry County police.
“We had some leads, we did investigate for quite a while, but eventually those leads didn’t go anywhere so the case just lays dormant until new information comes up,” Denis said.
Police are still asking the public for any information about the case, even after all these years. If detectives receive any new leads the case will be re-opened and assigned to a specific detective, Denis said.
Technically, it’s still open but we don’t have any current leads.
Lt. Raul Denis, Horry County police
The case should have never been closed, Robinson said. She doesn’t think police investigated her daughter’s death properly, and wants more investigators to look into the case “in case anything was missed.”
Anything to bring her closure and some answers.
“It’s a dead end and I just need help,” Robinson said. “Closure and acceptance in any death is hard, but especially with a murder.”
Claire Byun: 843-626-0381, @Claire_TSN