• Newly released documents shed light on what may have happened to Joleen Cummings

    By: Action News Jax

    Updated:

    Newly released documents are shedding light on what happened to a local mother who disappeared on Mother's Day in 2018. Joleen Cummings has been presumed dead, but her body has never been found.

    Kimberly Kessler, the sole suspect in the disappearance of the Nassau County mother faced a judge in court Jan. 22.

    Fifty pages of new evidence were just released. One of those pages reveals what investigators found inside Kessler's storage unit.

    The documents say inside that storage unit, Kessler had four wigs and a Crown Royal bag with two cut ponytails.

    Detectives also found three cellphones. Investigators say Kessler has had 18 different identities over the years.

    Inside the new documents, the crime scene reports show investigators found blood inside the salon where Cummings and Kessler worked. The documents also say crime scene technicians found bloodstains on the walls and furniture inside Tangles Hair Salon.

    The new records show investigators got video from a nearby restaurant that shows Kessler dumping a blue tote bag in the woods behind the salon. According to the documents, the tote also tested positive for the presence of blood.

    A Tangles Hair Salon employee noticed and pointed out to investigators that a plant next to the reception desk was not the same plant that used to be next to the reception desk. According to the documents, the original plant was found next to the blue tote found in the woods. 

    According to the documents, the disposal company that services the area behind Tangles Hair Salon made dumps to a Folkston, Georgia landfill. Investigators did a search of a landfill in Folkston related to this case in July of 2018.

    The documents also summarize interviews with inmates who have had contact with Kessler in jail. 

    The documents say many of the inmates tell investigators that Kessler always walked around with a Bible, liked to listen in to other people's conversations and didn't eat. Some inmates said Kessler told them her real name was in fact Kimberly Kessler (Kessler went by Jennifer Sybert at Tangles Hair Salon) and that she had been running from the federal government for 20 to 25 years. 

    According to the documents, an inmate told investigators that Kessler said she was done running because technology has gotten so advanced. That inmate told investigators that Kessler said she was wanted in Virginia, Minnesota and Kentucky. 

    Kessler's jail roommate told investigators that Kessler said she had been kidnapped at 16 years old, according to the documents. The inmate told investigators that Kessler said her mother, or "Mommy dearest," would sell her to men and that Kessler believed her mother made voodoo dolls with her hair to punish her. The documents also say that Kessler's roommate said she observed Kessler get upset with another inmate, stand in the doorway of her cell, take her breasts in her hands and shake them, telling the other inmate to step into her cell. 

    Kessler's legal team is working to keep certain evidence out of the public eye including interviews, Florida Department of Law Enforcement DNA results and text messages, to name a few. 

    Current evidence that has been released shows someone who appears to be Kessler on surveillance video at a Gate gas station dressed in all black the morning investigators said Cummings failed to pick up her children.

    Minutes before Kessler was seen at the gas station, surveillance cameras captured Cummings' car driving nearby. 

    Thursday, Action News Jax spoke with Cumming’s mother, Anne Johnson.  She does not believe investigators should have released this evidence.

    “Some evidence should be inaccessible to the public,” Johnson said.  “I do not want anything to compromise an ongoing investigation.”

    Cummings’ body has still not been found, but her grieving mother says she will never give up hope for justice for Joleen.

    “I ask for prayers for her body, her remains to be found, and for justice to be served,” Johnson said.


    MORE:
    Documents released in investigation involving missing Nassau County mom 

    TIMELINE: The disappearance of Joleen Cummings
    Customers told Action News Jax there was tension between Kessler and Cummings
    Community raises money for Joleen Cummings' children

    Items of interest found in Joleen Cummings landfill search, Sheriff says 
    Newly released documents shed light on what may have happened to Joleen Cummings 
    Kimberly Kessler, suspect in Joleen Cummings disappearance, made first court appearance 
    Report: Kimberly Kessler asked how another inmate accused of murder hid body

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