NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - WMBF News has uncovered exclusive new details into the murder investigation of Amber Berbiglia.
The 23-year-old was beaten to death back in May of this year, her body left under an overpass. Detectives and Amber's family have released never-before-seen surveillance video of Amber just hours before her murder as well as voice messages that represent the last things she said.
Amber's voice on the home answering machine rang out, "Hey Mom. It's Amber. And I'm fine, and I'm coming home soon. But I just wanted to tell you that I'm getting married, (laughter). I'm engaged. Um, I just wanted to call you and tell you."
Those are words we're hearing for the very first time, one of the last voice messages 23-year-old Amber Berbiglia left for her mother, Michelle. Amber's engagement to her Spanish boyfriend was just one of the many things this young woman had to live for, and why her sudden death has crippled this North Myrtle Beach family.
"The hardest part is missing her. I miss her so much," says Amber's mother, Michelle Robinson.
Michelle says this murder simply happened to the wrong person. "Amber was a social butterfly. She had friends from school, she had friends from work. She put herself through school. I was looking through papers. She owes nothing. She kept right on top of everything, her rent and everything. She paid off all her student loans, everything."
Sometime during the afternoon of May 3, Amber's body was found along Old Sanders Road under the Robert Edge Parkway overpass. Her car was running. Her phone was chirping with email and missed call alerts just a few inches from her fingertips.
"She had been injured severely and was deceased when we arrived. She was near her vehicle and there were no witnesses on scene," says Horry County Police detective Jonathan Martin.
"She was hit with something in the head twice where she had a fractured skull twice," adds Michelle Robinson.
But Michelle says Amber didn't go down easy, something that was evident at Amber's wake. "The man made me have her wear a long sleeve dress to cover up the bruises and the cuts on her arms. There was a fight. She put up a good fight they said."
Now six months old, the case is still considered active; detectives are being very careful what they share for fear of compromising their case.
What we do know is that Amber was last seen paying her cable bill around one in the afternoon at this Time Warner office on Main Street, less than a mile from where her body was found.
Shortly before that, she stopped at a Murphy gas station to fill up. Horry County Police agreed to release never-before-seen surveillance footage of Amber in hopes it might stir up a few more leads.
The Berbiglia family wants everyone to know who this beautiful young lady had been to them.
"Jose, Amber's fiance, was madly in love with her, and he misses her," Michelle says of the fiance Amber met while studying abroad.
Amber also left behind a very large family, a large family with broken hearts. "This is her at the wedding. All the nieces and nephews loved her."
Now regular candlelight vigils in honor of Amber Berbiglia are one of the few ways Michelle feels she can influence the outcome of this investigation, by keeping this case in the public eye and by reminding people that they can donate to a reward, one of the few things that might convince a witness to come forward.
And while these vigils are gradually shrinking in size, the determination of those who come is growing.
Detective Martin is always among the crowd. "There's two reasons, um, I think the family needs to know that you're still there for them. A lot of times it makes them feel good to know that the police still care, and we are there working on their case and come in on a Sunday and stand there with them and hold a candle."
Yet despite Detective Martin's appearances, Michelle can't help but wonder whether Amber's murder is still a priority for Horry County Police. She feels the case has been swept under the rug.
"But it's not that way, you know," says Detective Martin. "A family sometimes feels that way because they don't see you everyday, you know, they don't talk to you everyday. But that doesn't mean that her stuff is still not sitting on my desk with the hope that some information will come in, and we'll be able to close it out."
Michelle is waiting, waiting to spread Amber's ashes at her favorite spot, waiting to go through Amber's stuff in a closed off room in her home, and waiting to hear that her most precious possession can finally rest in peace.
Amber's last voice message was left for her mother. "Hey Mom. I just wanted to call and tell you I love you. Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet and so are you. I love you. Good night."
Horry County Police say they have ruled out Amber's immediate family as suspects in this case. It's also appearing unlikely that those friends closest to Amber know anything about her murder.
If you have a tip, as random as you think it might be, you are urged to call Horry County Police or CrimeStoppers. There is now a $6,000 reward in the case.