NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. — ON TV: Latest updates in the search for Joleen Cummings on CBS47 Action News Jax at 6.
Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said during a Tuesday afternoon news conference on the search for Joleen Jensen Cummings that they have evidence that leads them to believe Joleen is not alive.
Cummings, 34, was last seen leaving work at Tangles Hair Salon on May 12. She was reported missing by her mother, Anne Johnson, on May 14.
Jennifer Sybert, whose real name is Kimberly Kessler, is a suspect in the disappearance of Cummings, Leeper said. Sybert had been working as a stylist at Tangles for a month.
What led deputies to Sybert/Kessler
Cummings' ex-husband, Jason Cummings, said she never showed up to pick up her three children on Mother's Day.
Tangles was closed May 13 and 14 and was due to reopen May 15.
Leeper said detectives showed up May 15 at 10 a.m. to speak with Sybert, who was reportedly the last person to see Cummings.
Sybert did not show up for work that day. The address where she was supposed to be living -- the one she gave to the shop's owner -- was a bogus address, Leeper said.
After Cummings' 2006 Ford Expedition was found parked in the Home Depot parking lot in Yulee on May 15, detectives went to nearby businesses seeking surveillance video.
Leeper said investigators found Sybert was seen on surveillance video parking Cummings' Ford Expedition around 1:17 a.m. Sunday, May 13.
Sybert was then located by investigators on May 16 parked in her 2016 black Kia Soul between two semi-trucks at a rest area in St. Johns County. Leeper said Sybert had been living in her car at various locations. She was arrested in St. Johns County and brought back to Nassau County on a charge of grand theft auto.
Leeper said investigators then found that Sybert's real name is Kimberly Kessler. She is from Butler, Pennsylvania, and her birthday is May 9, 1968. She had been using a fake Social Security number and has been charged by the FBI with a federal offense of possession of a counterfeit passport.
Kessler was reported missing out of Pennsylvania
Action News Jax found that Kimberly Kessler, then age 35, was reported missing from Butler County, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 2004.
Leeper confirmed for Action News Jax that the person they have in custody is the Kimberly Kessler who was reported missing in 2004.
Trooper Jim Long with the Pennsylvania State Police said Kessler's disappearance was considered suspicious. The PSP were notified by her family in Butler County that Kessler made it known that she was going south to meet up with someone and assume the identity that she got from a tombstone.
PSP said it seemed like Kessler didn't want to be found.
Kessler also had another listed alias, Pamela Kleber/Kleiber, according to Kessler's original missing persons flyer.
Cummings' ex-boyfriend was at her home days before her disappearance
Cummings' ex-boyfriend Jason Gee, a person of interest in the case, was arrested on a violation of probation charge on May 15 – the same day Cummings' Expedition was found.
Days before Cummings disappearance, on May 9, deputies responded to a domestic issue involving Gee and Cummings. A neighbor called the Sheriff's Office after she heard loud arguing and things being broken inside Cummings' home.
Gee left before deputies arrived. Cummings told deputies that Gee showed up at her home and wanted to stay, but she asked him to leave.
Gee was found on Tuesday, May 15 hiding in a house in Hilliard under cardboard boxes and then arrested.
Joleen's mother pleads for help to find her daughter
Anne Johnson called her daughter a "blessing" she received after losing a child.
"God gave me this special blessing after my first infant son Richard was buried," she said after Leeper was done speaking at Tuesday's news conference.
Johnson said her daughter needs to be found so she and Cummings' children can have closure.
"Someone out there knows something. I beg you, I beg you, as a mother, to please keep coming forward with any information that you have," Johnson said.
A candlelight prayer vigil for Cummings was held 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Journey Church of Yulee.
The manager of Tangles released the following statement Wednesday, saying they are heartbroken over the disappearance of Cummings:
"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."
The search for Joleen continues
NCSO is continuing to follow up on all leads and gather additional information and evidence as to Kessler’s location and dealings before and after Saturday, May 12 until the time of her arrest. Leeper said she frequented Fernandina Beach, Yulee, the Bartram Park area of Jacksonville, as well as St. Johns County.
Leeper said NCSO will continue to search for Joleen, but she could be anywhere. Anyone who has seen or had any contact with Kessler, also known as Sybert, or her vehicle or has any information that would help us in our investigation to please contact NCSO at 904-548-4005 or contact First Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS or 8477.
Anyone who had an appointment at the salon or stopped by the area on May 12 is asked to call detectives.
Cox Media Group