Ginny Vice thinks about her sister every day.
“I still feel that same shock even though it has been a year,” said Vice, whose sister Cayce Vice was found shot to death in the bedroom of her Augusta apartment on Jan. 28, 2012, just a few days after her 21st birthday.
“I think about how she was laying. Was she asleep? Why didn’t I say this? Why didn’t I do that?” Vice said. “I’ve lost 25 pounds since all this has happened.
“They say time heals,” she said. “It must be a long time, a very long time, because it hasn’t healed.”
Vice’s body was found in bed after she failed to show up for her 10 a.m. shift at Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Washington Road. Her boss, Donna Rigdon, called police, who got a manager to open her door at the nearby Greens on Washington apartments.
Investigators say Vice was shot by her boyfriend, Joshua Tremaine Jones, who left Augusta that morning in his father’s BMW, stopping at Aiken’s Eustis Park.
It was there, South Carolina authorities say, that he gunned down Aiken Public Safety Master Cpl. Sandy Rogers. He was arrested later that morning at the home of a cousin in Batesburg, S.C., and remains at the Aiken County Detention Center, charged with murder.
Vice first connected with Jones in the fall of 2011, her friend Heather Lewis said.
“She actually told me she met him on the computer,” Lewis said. “They met on some online site.”
Lewis said she was living with Vice at the time. She said Vice and Jones met face-to-face the day she moved out, on Halloween.
Lewis said Jones seemed quiet and reserved. He even came over to their apartment once.
“He was playing (video) games with us,” she said. “He seemed really normal.”
Lewis said her friend didn’t know about Jones’ history of trouble with the law. She didn’t know he had attempted suicide in June and, according to his parents, had been in and out of hospitals for mental health issues.
Lewis said she saw Jones acting strangely only once after he had moved into Vice’s apartment.
“He was sitting on the side of her bed picking all these numbers,” she said. “He felt like he knew the numbers. He had a prophesy. It was weird.”
Although Jones seemed possessive at times, and carried a gun “for his protection,” Lewis said her friends never saw him act violently until Vice called her crying to say Jones had beaten her.
Lewis told her to call the police. Cayce Vice was taken to University Hospital Emergency Room by ambulance, Ginny Vice said.
“When we pulled up, it was so sad,” her sister said. “She was sitting there in a wheelchair with blood dripping down her nose, just by herself sitting there in the waiting room.”
Vice said her sister was crying and scared to sit near the waiting room doors. She had suffered a brutal assault, she said.
“Her nose was broke, her eyes were busted,” she said. “I started looking at her arms and she had bruises all down her arms.”
Lewis said she warned her friend to stay away from Jones, but she didn’t.
“I gave advice the best I could, but I know Cayce all so well,” Lewis said. “She will take your advice but she will do whatever she wants. It doesn’t matter if it comes from her best friend.”
This was early January 2012. Within a week or so, Jones was back at the apartment.
Ginny Vice thinks it was because her sister found out she was pregnant. Lewis said she can recall staying up all night with her friend not long after the beating as she took pregnancy tests over and over again.
“When you are a young girl and you are scared and alone and pregnant, you don’t know what to do,” Ginny Vice said. “I think she thought he would be nicer to her. It is hard to understand. We don’t know what she was feeling.”
Ginny Vice said her sister didn’t tell her she was seeing Jones again, but she suspected he was back.
The last time
About a week before her death, Ginny Vice said she picked up her sister and helped her take care of some bills. They went to her home and visited with her nephew Connor and Ginny’s husband, Mark.
“We talked about her moving into another place. We were looking at apartments on the computer,” she said. “The strangest thing is that we stood in the kitchen and we all hugged her. We all told her we loved her; she told us she loved us and missed us.”
It was the last time she saw Cayce alive.
In March, the family finally was allowed to enter her sister’s apartment, Ginny Vice said. She said her father, Howard Vice, went ahead of them and cleaned up the worst of the crime scene.
She remembers walking in and seeing things out of place from the police search, but a lot was still just as her sister left it.
“The most eerie thing was she had left everything just like she was ready to go to work that day. Her glasses were on the night stand, her contacts were in the bathroom. Her laundry was in the bathroom. Her purse was beside the bed,” she said. “Everything was like she was waiting to get up in the morning.”
Ginny Vice said just a few weeks earlier it seemed like her sister had turned her life around. She was working two jobs and taking classes at Augusta Technical College.
“She really had goals and I just thought she was going to be able to make it,” Ginny Vice said. “Seeing that somebody came in there and destroyed somebody who was beautiful – they had no right to take somebody’s life like that. She just wanted to get up and go to work the next day.”