ST. PETERSBURG — Police said the mother and daughter feared missing since last week calmly packed up their car and two dogs the morning of July 23, made a bank withdrawal and drove north out of Florida.
Angela Jolley, 46, and her 19-year-old daughter Alexis apparently spent the night at a hotel near Columbus, Miss., according to video surveillance footage. Police tracked them to Memphis, Tenn., as of Saturday, but need help to continue tracking them. Their phones were left at home, so detectives can’t call them.
“We are pleading for them, if they are okay, to just call us and let us know,” said police spokeswoman Yolanda Fernandez.
St. Petersburg police officials gave a detailed account of the pair’s activities at a Tuesday news conference to discuss the perplexing case of the mother and daughter once believed missing. The two were last seen at 11:30 p.m. on July 22 in their St. Petersburg home.
Angela Jolley did not report for work the next day, July 23, at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System in Seminole, while Alexis Jolley had the day off. Their car and two dogs were also missing but their cell phones were found inside their home.
Friends, who said this was unusual behavior for them, launched a search for the missing pair on Sunday morning.
“At no point in this investigation thus far have we had any reason to believe that Angela or Alexis have been harmed,” Detective Kevin Haemmelmann said at the news conference.
However, the police department said it will continue searching for mother and daughter until they can “verify” their safety and “rule out the possibility of foul play.” The detective said police do not know whether they are running from someone or something in particular. But detectives will keep searching for them until they are confirmed to be safe.
The two have committed no crimes to the knowledge of St. Petersburg police, Fernandez said. But tracking their location is tedious work, she said, so police ask anyone who spots the mother and daughter to contact the department (contact information below.)
Desiree Cook, Alexis Jolley’s half-sister, helped organize the search for the missing pair and said Tuesday she doesn’t know how to take the news.
“I have a lot of mixed feelings,” Cook told the Tampa Bay Times. “I’m definitely glad that they’re safe. I just have questions as to why they leave and not say anything. Are they in danger? Or did they just want to leave?”
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Police gave this account of their investigation:
When Angela Jolley failed to report to work at 6:30 a.m. on July 23, her supervisor went to her home and didn’t find her there, either. Then the supervisor contacted police. Officers went to the home where she and her daughter live on 38th Avenue N and interviewed Angela’s stepfather, Harry Ross, who also lives there.
Friends and family arrived and provided statements. Police then tried to track the women’s cell phones, which were soon found inside the home. Friends and family mistakenly believed that the phones had been located in a park nearby and launched a search for the two there on Sunday.
At about 6:30 a.m. on July 23, a video surveillance camera recorded the two cleaning out Angela Jolley’s blue 2018 Toyota Camry, then calmly getting into the vehicle with their two small white dogs. Next, at 6:52 a.m., the surveillance camera of a nearby credit union captured them pulling up to a drive-through ATM and withdrawing and transferring funds.
The mother is at the wheel in the video, dressed in work scrubs but not wearing her usual wig. This, and the fact she’s already 30 minutes late, led police to believe she did not intend to go to work.
Detectives tracked the two by checking security cameras along thoroughfares in Florida and reaching out to agencies here and in other states. The car was spotted at about 11:30 a.m. near Valdosta, Ga., headed north on Interstate 75. Next, it was seen headed west on Interstate 20 outside Atlanta, then the pair apparently stopped for the night at a hotel near Columbus, Miss.
The car was last seen Saturday near Memphis.
Detectives are canvassing the Columbus and Memphis areas and handing out flyers in their search for the women. They also are seeking subpoenas for bank records to help them their search.
The mother and daughter were supposed to board a plane Tuesday for a vacation in Maine, police said, but did not show up for the flight.
Friends and family had planned to start another search at 3:45 p.m. and then hold a prayer circle at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Both were canceled.
Anyone with information about their whereabouts is asked to call the St. Petersburg Police Department at (727) 893-7780, or text the information and keyword “SPPD” to 847-411 (Tip-411.)