Daughter, man held in theft of missing Palmetto woman's car

The woman's car was found in Kentucky.

​Two people are under arrest in connection with the theft of Tricia Freeman's car -- a missing woman from Palmetto -- and one of the suspects is the woman's foster daughter.

Kayla Colyer, 21, and Roy Nichols Jr., 26, were arrested in connection to the theft of Freeman's car as part of a joint investigation by Palmetto police and officers in Ashland, Ky., according to a release from the Palmetto police. They were arrested Saturday morning by Cabell County deputies in West Virginia.

Friends fear the worst but are holding out hope that a Manatee County woman missing since Monday will be found alive. Freeman, 47, has vanished.

“I’m afraid she’s stuck in a dumpster somewhere,” said friend Mark Cordevant.

Investigators' concerns are growing about Freeman’s mysterious disappearance. Right now, the search spans from Palmetto to Ashland, Ky., nearly 1,000 miles away, where Freeman’s car was found abandoned in a park.

Friday night, police turned her Palmetto home into a crime scene. Investigators are scouring it for any clues about what could've happened to her.

Friends haven't heard from her since Monday. She hasn't shown up for work at IHOP and abandoned her beloved dogs.  Police say those are all red flags that Freeman may be in trouble.

“We’re really worried about her now,” says Cordevant. He and his wife have been friends with Freeman for some two decades.

They talked to her Monday night as she was going to bed, but she never showed up to meet Cordevant the next day as promised. When he went to her house to check on her, he knew something wasn’t right.

“The whole gate was pulled out like they hooked a truck up to it and ripped the gate that direction,” he said.

Inside, he and another friend found Freeman’s two big dogs and some 15 Shih Tzus, all alone.

“The dogs look like they had messed on the floor for two days and weren't fed. She would never leave her dogs here. She would say, ‘Hey, someone come take care of my pets,’ and no word. That's what got us,” Cordevant said.

Friday night, the friends loaded up the dogs to care for them so investigators could search the home.

“We hope that she's OK, but we're going to error on the side of caution and do everything we can to find her,” said Palmetto Police Chief Scott Tyler.

Tyler says detectives put out an alert on Freeman's car and it was discovered in a park in Kentucky with no sign of the missing woman.

“We're anxious to see the car has OnStar, so we're going to be able to look at data like that, looking at her cell phone data,” said Tyler.

“It ain't good when you usually find a car in another state. It's abandoned. It's out in the middle of nowhere in a park. It’s not good,” Cordevant said.

Cordevant tells 10News that Freeman had been going through some tough times.

Her fiancé, Gus Barahona, passed away last month. Barahona and Cordevant worked together at Tropicana in Bradenton. 

Cordevant says Freeman had been fighting with Barahona’s family over his belongings and kicked her foster daughter out of the home the past weekend.

County court records show Freeman has an open case against her by Desoto Square Mall for two worthless checks totaling more than $4,000, similar charges to what caused her to serve prison time in the 1990s.

Still, friends don't believe Freeman would just vanish.

“If she left and had to go to an emergency or something, she would've called. Contact us, we’re really worried,” said Cordevant.

Palmetto police put out a nationwide Missing Person Alert and are asking anyone with information about Patricia Freeman to call them at 941-723-4587.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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