Pregnant and missing: The case of Angela Freeman
Angela Lee Freeman was born on January 16, 1976 to Debra Freeman. Debra was 17 when she gave birth to her daughter, and Angela’s biological father wasn’t involved her early life. Debra got married when Angela was three and soon had her son Nicholas. But she claimed her new husband was abusive, and they divorced relatively quickly. Over a decade later, Debra would marry a man named Bill Stewart, who she was married to when Angela went missing.
Growing up, Angela was fiercely protective of her younger brother and close to other family members as well. She was independent and loved doing her hair and makeup. Like many girls growing up in the late 1980’s, she loved New Kids on the Block.
As a teenager, Angela started sneaking out and partying a lot. She dropped out of high school in her sophomore year and started working in fast food to support herself. She planned on getting her GED and, eventually, becoming a nurse.
In mid 1993, Angela had just gotten out of a long term relationship when she found out she was pregnant. It’s not clear if her recent ex was the father of her child since she had briefly dated another man right after that. Angela decided to keep her baby and move into an apartment with a friend from work. She told her mom she was sure she was having a girl and wanted to name her baby Christina Lynn
By September 1993, 17-year-old Angela was about four months pregnant. On Wednesday, September 8, she gave her mom money to make a payment on her car. She said she was going to stay with a friend for a few days — the same friend she was about to move in with. Then she told her mom she would see her Friday and left. It was the last time Debra would see her daughter.
Paula — the friend Angela was staying with — briefly left her apartment the next day. Angela wasn’t there when she got back, but she had left a note saying she was going to talk to her ex at Pizza Hut, where he worked. (This was the ex who she had been in a long term relationship with.) Angela said she’d be back around midnight and asked Paula to leave the apartment unlocked so she could get back in.
Angela was last seen at that Pizza Hut on Central Avenue in her hometown of Petal, Mississippi in the early morning hours of Friday, September 10. Workers saw her arguing with her ex in the parking lot. She left around 1 am.
Around 6 am on the 10th, Angela’s boss called her house, asking where she was since she hadn’t shown up for work. Angela’s mom called a few people, including Angela’s ex, but none of them had seen her. Not too long after this, she got a call from Angela’s uncle, who said he’d found her car on Mahned Bridge in Perry County, about 20 miles from the Pizza Hut where she was last seen. Another witness would later say he’d seen the car on the bridge with one of the doors wide open.
(One source said her car was found at 3:45 pm, but I believe this is an error. Every other source indicates it was found in the early morning hours.)
Debra called the sheriff’s office and met them at the bridge. At first, police thought Angela was a runaway. They asked Debra if Angela had been partying or drinking, but she didn’t think so. Angela was taking her pregnancy seriously, and Debra didn’t think she’d do anything that could harm her unborn child.
Still, officers believed Angela would come back in a few days, and even let Debra take her daughter’s car home with her. But when Angela didn’t show up again for work the next day, Debra knew something was seriously wrong. She examined Angela’s car and saw a strange fluid on it, which she contacted police about. They said it was transmission fluid, but did file a missing persons report for Angela after this. Further investigation would later show the fluid was blood.
Police interviewed everyone associated with Angela and searched the area where her car had been found. A napkin was found on the bridge with makeup and Angela’s scent on it. One of her shoes was found in the nearby woods, the other behind a locked gate on a private road. The car was also searched, and blood was found close to the tail light and inside it. A bullet was also found in the ash tray, but it’s not clear what kind of gun it came from. Divers searched the Leaf River (which the Mahned Bridge goes over), but Angela wasn’t found. Her purse and keys have also never been recovered.
the Mahned Bridge murders
In 1995, 20-year-old Kenneth Moody and two of his teenage cousins were arrested for killing two people and hiding their bodies in Kenneth’s trailer. (‘Brothers, cousins held in killings of three people, page 6) A third body was found after their arrests. In 2001, Kenneth Moody was convicted of two counts of capital murder and sentenced to two consecutive life terms without parole.
Even though the bodies of Moody’s victims were found at his home, they had been abducted near the Mahned Bridge, where Angela’s car had been found two years earlier. There has been speculation that these murders are related to Angela’s disappearance, but no connection has ever been found.
In 1999, DNA testing showed the fluid Debra found on Angela’s car was actually Angela’s blood. In 2001, skeletal remains were found along a road in Perry County. DNA testing showed the remains were not Angela’s They belonged to a woman between 20 and 35 years old; as of 2018, she hadn’t been identified.
In 2002, Angela’s family held a memorial service for her. They believe she is no longer alive, and there is a stone for her at the Greens Creek Church Cemetery in Petal.
In 2004, the Petal police chief announced they were renewing the investigation. In 2011, Angela’s family members put up billboards to raise awareness about her case.
In 2018, the previously mentioned podcast Telling Lives began airing its first season, which covered Angela’s case. It goes into quite a bit more detail about the case, so if you want to know even more, you can check it out here.
As of November 2021, police have a suspect but have never publicly named them. It was eventually determined by a district attorney that there wasn’t enough evidence to move the case forward. Angela’s case now sits idle, but has been investigated in recent years as a homicide.
So what happened to Angela Freeman? There has been quite a bit of speculation in this case, but most of it isn’t very substantial and is based largely on unconfirmed rumors. There are two theories I want to go over.
The first theory is that Angela was abducted. One source mentions a man Angela’s parents reportedly had in mind at one point. The man was seen washing his truck in Gulfport, about an hour and half drive from the Mahned Bridge, and had been hunting near the Mahned Bridge earlier that day. But there’s not much more information about this reported sighting, and most online speculators are skeptical.
The next theory is that the father of Angela’s unborn child, whoever he may be, was involved. This isn’t surprising. Anecdotally, all the cases of missing or murdered pregnant women I’ve looked at have turned out one of two ways. In one, the culprit was another woman who desperately wanted a child for herself and went to extreme lengths to get one. In all other cases, the culprit was the unborn child’s father.
Angela Freeman was 17 years old and four months pregnant when she was last seen in Petal, Mississippi in the early morning hours of September 10, 1993. Angela is a white female who was 5 feet 3 inches tall and 108 pounds at the time of her disappearance, with brown hair and blue eyes. She has a scar below her left knee and was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and jeans or shorts. She goes by the nickname Angie and would be 46 years old if alive today.
If you have any information about this case, you can contact the Petal Police Department at (601) 544-5331.