Friends and family of Angela Jolley gathered to celebrate her life after she died during a 'medical episode' on Wednesday

By Caitlin Keating
July 31, 2020 12:31 PM
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St. Petersburg Police Department

Friends and family gathered to celebrate the life of Angela Jolley, the mother who died Wednesday in Nebraska after mysteriously leaving her Florida home with her teenage daughter, Alexis.

Gathered at Florida's Madeira Beach — one of Angela's favorite places— around sunset, those who knew her put roses in the ocean, according to FOX 13.

“I’m definitely glad that my sister is safe. It hurts us all about her mother,” her half-sister Desiree Cook told FOX 13. “I know the community still has a lot of questions and Alexis isn’t ready to answer it.”

46-year-old Angela and Alexis, 19, were first reported missing on July 23 after Angela failed to show up for work at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System in Seminole, Florida. They had also planned to fly to Maine the following week, according to relatives.

The women had packed up their car with their two dogs, left their phones and other electronic devices at home and made a bank withdrawal at a credit union, according to a police report obtained by PEOPLE.

Later on the morning of July 23, Angela’s car was spotted in Valdosta, Georgia, and then entered Columbus, Mississippi, a few hours later. The car wasn’t seen again until July 24 driving south of Memphis, Tennessee.

On Wednesday, July 28, the women were at a restaurant or gas station in Omaha, Nebraska, police say, when Angela went inside to use the restroom. When she didn’t emerge, Alexis went to check on her and found her in need of medical assistance, so she called 911.

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According to the St. Petersburg Police, Angela suffered a “medical episode, was transported to the hospital, and died.”

PEOPLE hasn’t been able to confirm with the Sarpy County Medical Examiner’s office what the “medical episode” was, but Angela did have gall bladder surgery recently, according to Cook.

“I don’t necessarily think they were running away from anything or anyone,” she says. “They were going to take the trip to Maine to possibly look for land or homes that they could eventually move to.”

Angela’s stepfather, who lived with them, was planning to join them in Maine.

“It’s heart-wrenching,” Brandi Kurtz, Alexis’ boss at the Winn-Dixie supermarket in Madeira Beach, Florida, tells PEOPLE. “It doesn’t make sense.”

She adds: “They were so close and the sweetest people you could ever meet.”