ST. PETERSBURG — The puzzling case of a mother and daughter reported missing in St. Petersburg last week took a tragic turn Wednesday morning when the mother died in Nebraska from what police described as a medical episode.
Friends and family didn’t know it, but Angela Jolley, 46, and Alexis Jolley, 19, had decided to drive to Nebraska last week, police said. The daughter called a relative with the news of her mother’s death and the relative informed the St. Petersburg Police Department.
Alexis Jolley told the relative she was safe. Police confirmed the death in a call to CHI Health Midlands hospital in Papillion, a suburb of Omaha.
Police did not know whether the daughter planned to return to St. Petersburg.
The Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office in Nebraska is investigating Angela Jolley’s death, though the agency has classified the case as non-criminal, said spokesperson Lt. Chris Teuscher. Authorities received a 911 rescue call about Angela Jolley early Wednesday, Teuscher said.
St. Petersburg police closed their investigation because their focus was locating the pair and making sure they were not victims of foul play, said police spokeswoman Yolanda Fernandez.
The news of Angela Jolley’s death caps a weeklong search by police as well as family and friends of the Jolleys.
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, who also lives there.
At about 6:30 a.m. on July 23, a video surveillance camera had recorded the two at the home, 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 at a nearby credit union captured them pulling up to a drive-thru ATM and withdrawing and transferring funds.
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.
Angela Jolley was a supervisor in the radiology department at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System in Seminole. Friends posted on Facebook that she had worked there for more than a decade.
Bay Pines has offered grieving staff members family chaplain counseling, employee assistance services and bereavement services and reached out to her family to help,” spokeswoman Anna Hancock said.
“Our entire Bay Pines Veteran Healthcare Family is grieving Angela’s loss,” Hancock said. “We hope with the utmost sincerity that peace is found for all involved.”
Alexis Jolley attended Grand Canyon University in Phoenix before the COVID-19 pandemic so police checked whether the Camry was spotted there recently. It was not. Friends said on Facebook that Alexis Jolley graduated from Keswick Christian School in St. Petersburg.
Those who knew the mother and daughter, concerned at their disappearance, launched a search on Sunday morning and had planned another search and a prayer circle on Tuesday. Both were canceled when organizers learned from police that the pair had apparently left Florida of their own volition.
Desiree Cook of Wauchula, Alexis Jolley’s half-sister, said Wednesday she is having a hard time accepting Angela Jolley’s death.
“I’m really upset,” Cook said. “Right now I want my sister to call me. I don’t know why she wouldn’t say something to me.”
Dana Tucker Moody of Spring Hill, a long-time friend of Angela Jolley, said she is worried about the daughter.
“My heart is broken and right now, mine and the family’s immediate concern is Alexis. ... She just lost her mother and best friend and she is by herself.”
Angela Jolley’s stepfather could not be reached for comment.