Authorities in Berkeley County have arrested a man who they said admitted to killing his 26-year-old girlfriend and her daughter, who had Aiken County roots, according to the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office.
The bodies of Ashley Kaney, 26, and her 8-year-old daughter Riley Burdick were found inside their home on Kershaw Road in Summerville about 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, according to Berkeley County Coroner Bill Salisbury.
Burdick died from asphyxiation by strangulation, according to the coroner. The results of Kaney's autopsy are pending toxicology and a microscopic test.
Kaney's boyfriend, 22-year-old Jacob Theopholis Philip, was developed as a person of interest during the homicide investigation, according to a statement from the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office.
Philip was arrested by Virginia Beach Police for unrelated charges and eventually confessed to killing Kaney and her daughter, police said.
Philip has been charged with two counts of murder and is being held in Virginia Beach pending local charges and extradition to South Carolina, according to the statement.
The deaths of Kaney and her daughter were determined to be the result of “an isolated act of domestic violence.”
The Berkeley County school district sent a social worker to the home to check on Burdick on Tuesday morning after she did not show up for school on Monday and Tuesday, Salisbury said.
After she knocked and received no answer, the social worker called the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office. Deputies responded and made entry to the home, where they found the bodies.
Kaney grew up and went to school in Aiken, according to Hilda Herring, a family friend. Herring lives in Kaney's former home on Marvin Drive.
“She was so well-loved. She was a sweetheart,” Herring recalled. “She was the kind of girl you want your son to marry.”
Kaney moved to Summerville about a year and a half ago. She and Herring's son dated for a while and were still friends at the time of her death.
“She loved my son so much. I just wish they had made it, but things didn't work out,” Herring said, adding that her son would still go to visit Kaney and Burdick.
“(Riley) used to love to get on his motorcycle,” she said. “Thank God they caught this guy.”
Herring said Kaney worked at a number of businesses in Aiken, most recently at Takosushi in downtown.
“She was a wonderful girl,” she said. “She's gonna be very, very missed.”
Teddy Kulmala covers the crime and courts beat for the Aiken Standard.
He has been with the newspaper since August 2012. He is a native of Williston and majored in communication studies at Clemson University.