None of those gathered Wednesday had expected to be saying goodbye to the vivacious young woman to whom they had offered birthday wishes only one week before.
“It’s such a great loss of such a beautiful lady at such a young age,” said the Rev. Don Prosser, addressing about 100 people filling a chapel at Thomas Poteet and Son Funeral Home who were there to bid farewell to Cayce Vice.
Vice had just turned 21 on Jan. 25.
Prosser acknowledged that the pain felt by family and friends was almost beyond all understanding, but he urged those who were grieving to lean on their faith for help.
He hoped that Vice’s short life could lead others to reach out to those in pain, especially others who might be victims of domestic violence.
“We must not take life for granted. We can’t take for granted that a victim of domestic violence may be right next door,” Prosser said.
Police say Vice had suffered beating from her boyfriend, Joshua Tremaine Jones, only a couple of weeks before her body was discovered in her apartment. She had been shot in the head. The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office has obtained warrants for murder and weapons charges against Jones, who remains in the Aiken County Detention Center also charged with murder in Saturday’s slaying of Aiken Public Safety Master Cpl. Sandra E. Rogers.
“The days that we do have, we need to live life to the fullest. Cayce did that. She loved life,” Prosser said.
A few others spoke about Vice, including her former managers at Food Lion and Five Guys Burgers and Fries. They talked about what a diligent and caring person she had been.
Donna Rigdon, her boss at Five Guys, said Vice had plans to move on to bigger and better things.
“She had goals and she was achieving those goals,” Rigdon said.
Dorsey Timmerman said Vice came to her aid one day when her car wouldn’t start in a McDonald’s parking lot.
“I was wearing my Five Guys uniform and she said she needed a job,” Timmerman said.
Within a few days they were working together at the Washington Road restaurant, and they soon became close friends.
“If I called her at 4 o’clock in the morning, she would always answer the phone,” Timmerman said. “She was one of the best friends I ever had.”
Timmerman said she would spend the night at Vice’s apartment occasionally, but never spoke to Joshua Jones.
“He wouldn’t even make eye contact,” she said. “She didn’t know anything about his past. If she had known any of that, they wouldn’t have been together.”