This story is part of a collaborative project between Project: Cold Case and a University of North Florida Journalism class.
Situated on Jacksonville’s Eastside sits a Victorian house, once the location of Solomon family holidays.
Tables of homemade food and desserts filled the house. There were only two rules for visitors: get along or leave, and eat something.
Angela Carol Solomon Raymond, a mother of four and the only girl out of seven brothers, had long, dark, brown hair and was around five feet tall with green eyes. She was a firecracker with a goofy personality, noticeable instantly upon her arrival.
Her time at the Victorian home was spent playfully trying to get under her brothers’ skin while making sure her own kids were happy.
Sounds of laughter grew faint in that home over two decades ago after Angela was found strangled to death behind the Ramona Flea Market in Jacksonville, Florida.
She was 38 at the time, and her murder has never been solved.
Angela grew up in Jacksonville in a family of hard workers. Her parents were originally from Coffee County, Georgia, and her family history in Coffee County dates to the early 1600s. Angela’s father was a welder who started a new life for his family in Florida with just $5 in his pocket and a tank full of gas.
Angela’s mother had all eight of her children by the age of 21. She raised Angela to be tough, outspoken, and fearless.
“She came with TNT in her. She could pack a punch,” her oldest son Charles said. “She was outgoing, always busy, always doing stuff. When she would go places, I never really worried about her.”
Angela attended high school in the 1970s as a lover of southern and soft rock. In high school, she fell into the wrong crowd and soon found herself in trouble. Bad influences and typical teenage rebellion eventually led to a crippling addiction to hard narcotics.
She had her first child Charles at 17, followed by Mary, Bryan, and Lori. Angela dropped out of high school but eventually went back and earned her GED, which was always one of her most treasured possessions.
Angela loved her children dearly. Although drugs were an ongoing struggle in her life, she always wanted what was best for her kids. She protected them, made sure they were fed and cleaned, and protected them from harm.
She had a natural talent for roller skating and could often be spotted with a Pepsi and a Mr. Goodbar candy bar. She was known to make people around her smile and laugh. She taught her oldest son Charles to always stand up for himself.
Angela’s struggles with drugs made it difficult for her to maintain custody of her children. Thus, her parents primarily raised her children. Throughout her life, Angela had different hard-labor jobs such as car detailing and cleaning motel rooms. She continuously tried to get clean.
Despite the struggles with addiction, she did what she could to separate her children from the dark sides of her lifestyle.
Angela always made it a priority to see her kids on their birthdays. Charles stated that she always made sure her kids got their $100 birthday present.
Charles’s birthday in 1999 was the last time he heard from his mother. Angela called, devastated that she had missed his birthday. She made sure that he received his gift and said she loved him.
About a week later, she was gone.
On Wednesday, April 14, 1999, the sun was out in Jacksonville, and the temperature sat around 75 degrees. Angela was supposed to meet with her mother to go clean the Victorian house on the Eastside, something she was always happy to help do.
She never showed up.
On the same day around 1 p.m., a fisherman was fishing at the pond behind the Ramona Flea Market when he saw what he thought was a log floating. When he discovered it was a body, he reported it to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
The Ramona Flea Market, located on the Westside of Jacksonville, was an area Angela would often hang out. The flea market, only open on the weekends, was quiet and empty this Wednesday. Beyond the pavilion, usually home to celebratory, joyful, bustling events, Angela’s body floated in the pond.
Angela Raymond was identified later that day. Police determined she died by strangulation and that she had been transported to the pond after her death. The flea market was not the place where the crime occurred. There were tire tracks located behind the pond.
Police immediately suspected foul play and interviewed several potential suspects. Police eventually hit a dead end with pursuing the case further due to lack of evidence. Angela’s case went cold.
Angela’s death broke the family into pieces. According to Charles, his mom was fearless, and wouldn’t have been afraid to step into a ring with Mike Tyson.
“For someone to be able to take advantage of her like that was just really weird,” Charles said.
In 21 years, Charles has learned a lot from losing a loved one.
“If you want the pain to ease, it’s never gonna stop. We all got one momma and one daddy, that’s it. It’s another thing when you lose them to murder,” Charles said. “When you lose a family member to murder, the best way to cope is to talk about them every day. Remember the good times, remember the bad times. Talk about all the times. The more you talk about them, the more it makes the demon inside of you go away.”
Charles and his wife Amanda still live in Jacksonville. They have been raising his nephew, Timothy, since the death of Charles’ sister Mary. It seems the grief never stops.
“When she died, a part of me died with her,” Charles said about the death of his mother. “I just want my mother’s case to be solved.”
He wants everyone’s case to be solved, in fact.
“That’s a pain I can sympathize with,” he said.
If you have any information on the unsolved murder of Angela Raymond, please call the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at (904) 630-0500. To remain anonymous and possibly be eligible for a $3,000 reward, call First Coast Crime Stoppers at (866) 845-TIPS.
Research & Impact
All families would have consistent communication with the investigating agency assigned to their loved one’s unsolved case in an ideal situation. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case for many reasons. Most often, it’s simply the lack of manpower, funding, and the agency’s size. A lot goes into digitally archiving decades worth of paper case files and the technology can be expensive.
At Project: Cold Case, we work to educate surviving family members and the public about the many complexities that a family can face when working to advocate for their loved one. One tip we often share is that the family should reach out to the agency, especially if a substantial amount of time has elapsed since the homicide or the last communication. While many families wish that law enforcement would initiate contact, families need to continue to reach out periodically, introducing themselves to each detective that may come through the department, and make sure their loved one’s name is remembered in the office.
As far as other suggestions, consider asking specific questions, such as:
Is there a detective assigned to the case? If so, make sure you get their name, phone number, and email address.
When was the last time the case was reviewed? Ask if they would consider utilizing new technologies to retest evidence if there is any.
Can the family schedule a sit-down meeting with detectives? Many agencies would be more than happy to show the amount of work that has gone into the investigation.
Remember, if you have recently moved, changed phone numbers, or it has been a long time since you last spoke to the agency, reach out and update your contact information. If investigators still have outdated information, then there’s no way for them to reach out to you.
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