There were no known witnesses, no known motives, and ultimately, no warnings to prepare the families of Angelia Magnum and Tjhisha Ball of the heartache to come. There were just the two teenage friends’ bodies found naked and bound together by zip ties by the side of the road in Tampa, Florida, this past September.
In the three months since the 18 and 19-year-old were discovered dead and on top of each other there’s been some movement in what remains a disturbing unsolved case. Evelyn Magnum, Angelia’s mom, says she’s gotten tips and taunts from strangers on social media who say they know what happened to her youngest child – through her son she’s even heard rumors that the gory details of Angelia’s death were incorporated into the lyrics of a twisted rap song.
But the 48-year-old won’t allow herself to get sidetracked by gossip– she’s more committed to learning the truth.
“I’ve told the detectives everything I know,” claims the Baltimore resident, expressing her frustration over how long the case is taking to break. She’s heard rumors that the girls were involved in a robbery, and that their deaths may have been in retaliation. “Whether that’s true or not doesn’t matter to me. They should not have died the way they did,” says Magnum. “They were thrown out into the street like dogs, like animals.”
Both women worked as exotic dancers, leading to speculation that their deaths have been dismissed by both police and the public due to stigmas about sex workers.
“It doesn’t matter what they did for a living or how they made their money,” says the grieving mother of five. “No one deserves to die like that.”
Like Magnum, Tjhisha’s sister Crystal Moore is eager to see the murderer or murderers brought to justice.
“I just want the cops to do their job,” she says. “I want valid information. You can literally lose your mind with all the allegations,” she admits. “I believe that the [killer] was someone the women knew. Someone from within [my sister’s] inner circle. [Tjhisha and I] talked almost every day so I know about altercations she’s gotten into with people over things like flat tires, non-payment for hotel rooms and things like that. So for her not to have called me or said anything meant that on the night she was killed she was comfortable with wherever they were and whoever they were with.”
Though Moore remains tight-lipped about what the police have discovered in the months following their grisly discovery developments within the past month or so have made her hopeful that they are close to making a break in the case.
Still, nothing is for certain. It is for that reason she is urging the public to reach out to police in Jacksonville, Florida with anything they know that will help bring the killers to justice.
“I’m happy with everything [the detectives] have been able to tell me so far,” she says hopefully. “The next step is for both [our] families to meet and go over the evidence that’s been collected so far. “We are patiently waiting on that phone call,” says Moore.
Anyone with information about this case should contact the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at 904-630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. Anonymous tips can also be provided to Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.