• Joleen Cummings disappearance: Hair salon clients say there was tension between Cummings, suspect

    By: Amber Krycka , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. - Secretive, over the top and paranoid: That's how people who knew Kimberly Kessler describe the woman suspected in the disappearance of Nassau County mother Joleen Cummings. 

    Customers told Action News Jax there was tension between Kessler and Cummings – co-workers at Tangles Salon -- leading up to Cummings's disappearance. 

    TIMELINE: Joleen Cummings disappearance

    Tangles was the second salon Kessler worked at in Northeast Florida where she had a bad reputation, within the last few months.

    Friends said Cummings didn’t like Kessler and Kessler rubbed clients the wrong way. A client who didn’t want to be identified said when she was at the salon a few days before Cummings disappeared there was tension between Cummings and Kessler. 

    Kessler, the prime suspect in the disappearance of Cummings, made an impression on a lot of people. 

    NASSAU COUNTY SHERIFF: We have evidence Joleen Cummings is not alive

    “I kind of felt uncomfortable because I was just like, Joleen is getting slammed by all these clients, and you’re just sitting around doing nothing, not even helping her. You’re hiding behind a wall playing on your phone,” the client said.

    She said when Cummings asked Kessler for help, Kessler acted like she didn’t know what to do and wouldn’t help

    “Joleen then told me, she was like, ‘You know, one day she’s going to need help and I’m not going to give it to her, because she’s not giving it to me,’” the client said.

    According to deputies, Kessler was the last person to see Cummings, a mother of three, as she was leaving work May 12. They said Kessler dropped off Cummings’ SUV in the parking lot of the Yulee Home Depot early in the morning on May 13. 

    Investigators said she then took a taxi from a nearby gas station to the Tangles. 

    Kessler’s arrest affidavit said she denied ever being in Cummings’ SUV. 

    New pictures obtained by Action News Jax show Kessler’s past identity; she used the alias Jennifer Sybert.

    JENNIFER SYBERT: 10 things we know about suspect in Nassau mom's disappearance

    A man from Clearwater who didn’t want to be identified said Kessler rented out a room from him in 2009.

    He said last week, a detective called him about her.

    He told us she was very secretive and was taken into custody under Florida’s Baker Act at one point. 

    The state’s Baker Act allows law enforcement officers, doctors, psychologists and other mental health professionals to take someone into custody for mental-health treatment when that person is deemed a high risk to themselves or others.

    Kessler also reportedly worked at the Great Clips on County Road 210 for a short time in 2017 and went by the name Mia. Co-workers there said she was nice some days but that they felt uncomfortable working with her. She seemed paranoid and obtained employment at the hair salon by using false information, a former co-worker said. 

    The manager of Tangles released the following statement Wednesday, saying the staff is heartbroken by Cummings' disappearance:

    "We are deeply saddened by the information released by NCSO yesterday. Joleen was like a daughter to us and we are heart broken over this. She was a loving mother, daughter and friend to many. She was a successful stylist that loved what she did. Our hearts are also broken for her mother, children and the rest of her family. The world is full of evil, but many of us never expect it to hit so close as this has. We have and will continue to pray for her family and for closure for them. We ask that everyone would respect the privacy of the family and of our family during this time."

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