The last time Jerlean Moore talked to her daughter on the phone, she sang her a song.
Tjhisha Monique Ball, who was living in Jacksonville at the time, put her mother on speaker phone so her friends could hear her sing Sage the Gemini’s song, “Red Nose.” It was a song they both loved.
“She was a good girl,” said Moore, who affectionately called her daughter “T.” “She loved everybody. She was very sharing and giving. She was the sweetest little thing. She just loved everything. She was happy and bubbly. She was outgoing.”
On Thursday afternoon, a Tampa police officer came to Moore’s home and told her her 18-year-old daughter had been found dead along with her friend, 19-year-old Angelia Ella Mangum, on a roadside in Jacksonville.
A witness told a reporter with First Coast News in Jacksonville that the women were found hog-tied in a pool of blood. Deputies on Thursday would not confirm that or a cause of death, citing the ongoing investigation.
Someone saw the bodies shortly before 2 a.m. and called the police, said sheriff’s office spokesman Christian Hancock. Deputies have no suspect at this time, he said.
Moore said she still hasn’t been able to process the news of her daughter’s death.
“It’s just crazy,” Moore said. “I’m numb. I don’t know. There’s a lot of things running around in my head. It could be anything.”
She said she can’t understand what happened. She’s hoping someone calls and tells her they mistakenly identified her daughter as a victim.
“She was strong minded,” said Moore, 55. “Whatever she set her mind to do, that’s what she was going to do. She wasn’t afraid. I can truly say that whatever happened to her she went down with a fight. She just didn’t go down like a little weakling.”
Ball was born in Lakeland, the youngest of four children. At the age of 9, Ball moved with her oldest sister to Tampa. Moore later moved to Tampa as well.
Ball was a tomboy growing up, Moore said. As she grew up, she got into fashion, clothes and having the latest hairstyle, Moore said.
About two years ago, she started doing exotic dancing and would stay in Jacksonville with Mangum for long stretches of time. Both were strip dancers in Jacksonville, where it was more lucrative for them, Moore said. She said Ball had a boyfriend but that she had never met him.
They would spend several months in Jacksonville living with friends, Moore said, then come back to Tampa for a time, she said.
Mangum was raised in Tampa with foster families. Her mother lost custody of her at a young age, Moore said.
Mangum and Ball met as teenagers and were close friends, Moore said. She described Mangum as sweet and polite.
“She was always respectful,” Moore said.
She would stick up for Ball, though, Moore said.
“If T got in a fight, she’s going to jump in,” Moore said. “They were like sisters. They were together. They were a team. They died together.”
Records show Ball was arrested in Jacksonville last year on a cocaine possession charge. She was also arrested for a traffic violation in Tampa in April.
Mangum has been arrested in Hillsborough County several times on charges of burglary and violation of probation, records show.
Moore said her daughter wouldn’t jump in a car with a stranger. She would take care of herself, she said. She speculates that her daughter knew the person who killed her.
“Whoever did this to her, you need to be ashamed of yourself,” Moore said. “Thou shall not kill. Justice will be served.”
Before moving to her current home on Lakeshore Drive, Moore lived on North 15th Street with Ball. People in the neighborhood who knew the family had heard the news Thursday afternoon.
“I feel bad for them,” said Mario Funes, who manages the apartment complex where Moore and Ball lived on North 15th Street. “They are a great family. She was such a nice girl, and she respected everybody. She was so friendly; no one thought they would hurt her.”
Herbert Myers knew Ball when she was a young girl growing up on North 15th Street. He was stunned by the news.
“She was a sweet little girl,” Myers said. “She minded her business and didn’t give anybody any trouble.”
“Whatever happened it wasn’t worth it to take somebody’s life like that,” Myers said.