The investigation into the disappearance of Palmetto resident Tricia Freeman continues to unfold following the arrest of her daughter and daughter’s boyfriend.
Freeman, who has not been seen since Tuesday, has still not been found.
Kayla Coyler, 21, and Roy Nichols Jr., 26, were arrested early Saturday morning, less than 48 hours after Freeman’s stolen car was found in Ashland, Ky., according to the Palmetto Police Department.
Freeman was reported missing Wednesday evening when her friends summoned police to her home. Outside her residence, her concerned friends told police officers they had been unable to reach Freeman, which they said was very unlike her. Freeman’s dogs had also been left inside the home, they said, which was also out of the norm.
As of Saturday afternoon, the investigation was centered around the tri-state area of Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia, according to Palmetto Police Chief Scott Tyler.
Freeman’s car was found in Central Park in Ashland, Ky., a town located on the banks of the Ohio River, while Coyler and Nichols were found and arrested in West Virginia by the Cabell County Sheriff’s Office, according to the Ashland Police Department.
The Ashland Police Department had been working in conjunction with the Kentucky State Police technicians and Lawrence County Ohio Sheriff’s Office late Friday to locate Coyler and Nichols after warrants were issued by the Palmetto Police Department, charging them with stealing Freeman’s car.
On Friday evening, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Investigative Unit and Crime Scene Unit conducted a forensic search of Freeman’s home after the location of her car in Kentucky created enough probable clause for the search.
“There was no smoking gun,” Tyler said without releasing any additional details of what if anything was found.
Enough probable cause was developed, however, to charge Coyler and Nichols with the motor vehicle theft.
Before their capture in the early morning hours Saturday, Ashland police said the two had last been seen in a Wal-Mart in South Point, Ohio. Police released images captured by Wal-Mart surveillance.
Coyler, who has a Pasco address on her license, would sometimes stay with her mother in Palmetto, Tyler said.
Her boyfriend was released from prison in 2010, after serving one year of an 18-month sentence for convictions of grand theft of $300 to $5,000 and trafficking in stolen property out of Levy County.
One of the friends, who Freeman would normally ask to watch the dogs if she was going out of town, took the dogs from the home Friday afternoon to be cared for until she is found.
Freeman was last seen at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday by a friend, who told police the woman appeared to be OK. She did not show up for her shift Monday night at the IHOP in Sarasota where she works, however.
Anyone who may have seen Freeman is asked to call the Palmetto Police Department at 941-723-4587.