Sheriff Bill Leeper: "Good afternoon everyone. We are here to provide you with an update on the disappearance of Joleen Cummings.
Behind me are NCSO Captain of Investigations John Anstett, our lead investigator in this case Detective Wayne Herrington, his partner Detective Thomas Kelley, Joleen’s Mother Ann Johnson, and our Nassau County Assistant State Attorney Donna Thurston.
On Monday, May 14th we received a report of a missing person, Joleen Rebecca Cummings, age 34, from her Mother Ann Johnson. Joleen was supposed to pick up her children in Hilliard from her ex-husband on Sunday afternoon, which was Mother’s Day.
It was also noted that she had gone away for the weekends before, but would always stay in contact with her family. Joleen worked at Tangles Hair Salon, located at 474315 E State Road 200 Fernandina Beach.
She worked all day Saturday May 12th and was supposed to get off work around 5 PM. No one has seen or heard from her since. Naturally, investigators wanted to and did talk to Joleen’s Ex-husband Jason Cummings who she was supposed to pick up her kids from on Sunday.
NCSO deputies had responded to Joleen’s residence a few days prior on May 9th in reference to a domestic issue involving Joleen and a former boyfriend, Jason Gee. A neighbor advised she heard loud arguing and things being broken inside Joleen’s house, so she called the sheriff’s Office.
When deputies arrived, Gee was gone. Joleen told the responding deputy that Gee showed up at her house and wanted to stay, but she asked him to leave.
He had an active warrant out for his arrest for violation of probation and he avoided deputies who were actively looking for him to see if he had any information on Joleen’s whereabouts.
Gee was found on Tuesday, May 15th hiding in a house in Hilliard under some cardboard boxes and was arrested on the outstanding warrant. The last person who had supposedly seen Joleen was another hair stylist who also worked on Saturday May 12th.
This hair stylist had only worked at Tangles around a month or so. The Salon was closed on Sunday and Monday. The salon was supposed to open back up on Tuesday morning at 10 AM, so NCSO investigators were there to talk to this person to see if she had any information as to the whereabouts of Joleen.
She failed to show up for work and the address that she gave the owner of the shop where she was supposed to be living was a bogus address.
On Tuesday afternoon, we received information that a vehicle matching Joleen’s 2006 beige Ford Expedition was seen parked in the parking lot close to the Home Depot in Yulee.
We towed the vehicle to the sheriff’s office to see if we could obtain any type of clues about Joleen. We immediately began going around to businesses in the area looking for any video surveillance camera footage that was available in hopes we could find out when the vehicle was parked there.
We found some camera footage that showed Joleen’s vehicle being parked around 1:17 AM, Sunday morning. The video showed the driver sit there for a few minutes and then get out.
We were hoping to see Joleen get out of the vehicle, but who do you think it was? The Tangles hairstylist who last worked with Joleen on Saturday. She went by the name of Jennifer Sybert.
In addition to following up on all leads and evidence that we were receiving, we were trying to locate Sybert. Through our investigative techniques we finally located Sybert and her vehicle, a 2016 Black Kia Soul, at the NB I-95 rest area in St. Johns County on Wednesday evening, May 16th, parked between other semi-trucks. She had apparently been living in her car at various locations.
Based upon the surveillance video of her driving Joleen’s car, we arrested her for Grand Theft Auto and she was booked into the St. Johns County Jail and ultimately brought back to the Nassau County Jail.
Through our investigation, we have obtained evidence, which we are not releasing at this time, which leads us to believe Joleen is not alive. We have subsequently found out that Sybert’s real name is Kimberly Kessler, Date of Birth May 9, 1968 and she is from Butler, Pennsylvania. She had also been using a fake Social Security number.
She has since been charged by the FBI with a Federal Offense of Possession of a Counterfeit Passport. Kessler is a suspect in the disappearance of Joleen Cummings. We are working to obtain and gather all of the evidence we possibly can related to this incident and additional charges are forthcoming.
We continue to follow up on all leads and gather additional information and evidence as to Kessler’s location and dealings before and after Saturday May 12th until the time of her arrest. We know she frequented Fernandina Beach, Yulee, the Bartram Park area of Jacksonville, as well as St. Johns County. We are working closely with our State Attorney’s Office, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the FBI.
We will continue to search for Joleen, but she could be anywhere. We have searched for her utilizing all of our resources including canines, horses, and boats.
We are asking if anyone has seen or had any contact with Kessler, also known as Jennifer 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.
Now Joleen’s Mother, Ann Johnson would like to say a few words and plea to the public for any information about the location of her daughter. We are not going to answer any questions at this time.
We just wanted to provide you and our community with an update on our investigation. We ask that you respect the privacy of Joleen’s family and we ask for your prayers for Joleen, her family and that she is found soon.
We will provide additional updates to all of you when Joleen is found and/or additional charges are made in this case. Thank you."
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