PHOTO GALLERY: Authorities search for Cummings evidence in landfill
"You can't imagine what your brain is going through and where your child might be," said Connie Kessler. "You keep going through horrible scenarios."
Kessler's daughter Kimberly was reported missing from Butler County in 2004.
She resurfaced in May near Jacksonville, where she is now a suspect in the disappearance of a woman named Joleen Cummings.
Kessler was arrested after being spotted in Cummings' car.
On Saturday, investigators searched a massive landfill in Folkson, Ga., looking for evidence that, they said, Kessler tossed into a dumpster around the time of the disappearance.
"We do not yet know exactly what items were placed in the dumpster, but we believe, based on what we do know, that it is worth our time and effort to find out," said Sheriff Bill Leeper, of Nassau County, Florida.
Connie Kessler hadn't seen or talked to her daughter in 20 years, until she called her from a Florida jail cell.
"We say 'I love you very much' before we hang up the phone. But it's like a bittersweet reunion," Connie Kessler said.
She told WPXI-TV Pittsburgh that she's agonized for years over whether Kimberly was dead or alive.
Kimberly is the prime suspect in the disappearance of her former co-worker Joleen Cummings.
"People can snap but, of course, I'd say, 'No, I can't even fathom such a thing,'" Connie Kessler said of her daughter's suspected involvement.
Kessler believes her daughter's troubles started nearly 20 years ago when, she said, her son, Evan, was taken from her by his father.
"My daughter went in search of him," Connie Kessler said. "That was the reason she changed her name in the first place, so that she could go back to Virginia to look for Evan."
Her most recent was Jennifer Sybert, an identity she stole from a woman who is buried in Butler.
Cummings was last seen on May 12 at a Florida hair salon where she worked with Kessler.
Her SUV was later found in a parking lot.
Surveillance video showed Kessler parking the car and getting out.
"I can't find out anything," Connie Kessler said. "You're just kind of left hanging, wondering what's going to happen."
Kessler said she plans on visiting her daughter soon.
Cox Media Group