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Crime

Suspect in Mom-of-3's Mysterious Disappearance on Mother's Day Weekend Had Many 'Disguises': Police

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A Florida hairdresser arrested in connection with the disappearance of one of her coworkers — a mom-of-three who didn’t pick up her children on Mother’s Day and hasn’t been seen since — has had 18 aliases and lived in 33 cities and 14 states since 1996, authorities say.

At a news conference on Friday, Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper announced that the information they have so far uncovered about 50-year-old Kimberly Lee Kessler will “shock” the community.

“We are not quite sure yet why all the disguises or if she [Kessler] has been involved in the disappearance of anyone else before,” Leeper said. “But it seems she is definitely running from something. As we continue to gather more and more evidence and facts, we have learned this case is a very unusual one that I am not sure we have ever seen in Nassau County before.”

Kessler worked with missing mom Joleen Cummings, 34, at Tangles Hair Salon and was allegedly the last person to see her alive, according to investigators.

Kessler is a suspect in Cummings’ disappearance, authorities have said, and she is behind bars on a theft charge in Cummings’ case.

Cummings is presumed dead.

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Leeper said Friday that law enforcement has searched 40 areas within Nassau County, used helicopters and planes in their search and received numerous tips — but they have found no signs of Cummings, who was reported missing by her mother on May 14.

Kessler is from Butler, Pennsylvania, and has lived in Boca Raton, Florida; Phoenix; St. Louis; Virginia Beach, Virginia; and Waco, Texas, among others, Leeper said.

He also said that Kessler had driver’s licenses in five different states and held jobs as a trucker driver and hairdresser and at restaurants and temporary employment agencies.

“I will say this: When we do provide all the details, I believe our community will be shocked,” he said.

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Cummings was last seen leaving her job at her hair salon, in Fernandina Beach, at 5 p.m. on May 12. She was supposed to meet up with her ex-husband in Hilliard on Mother’s Day to pick up her kids, but she never showed up.

Her beige 2006 Ford Expedition was discovered May 15 in the parking lot of a Home Depot in Yulee, not far from the salon.

That same day, authorities said, they went to the salon to speak with Kessler but she didn’t show up to work from that point forward — and the address she had given to her boss was fake.

Investigators later discovered surveillance video from 1:17 a.m. on May 13 that showed Kessler — who goes by Jennifer Sybert, among her many aliases, and who had worked at the salon for about a month — parking Cummings’ SUV.

Kimberly Lee Kessler
Nassau County Sheriffs Office

Kessler was found at a truck stop on May 16, according to authorities. She was arrested for grand theft auto for allegedly stealing Cummings’ car and remains in custody in lieu of $500,000 bail.

She has not been in court to plead to her charge and is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday. Records do not reflect an attorney who could comment on her behalf.

Sheriff Leeper on Friday urged anyone with information about Kessler — including anyone who may have rented storage space to her in the last two years or who has known her to drive anything other than a 2016 Kia Soul — to contact investigators at 904-548-4005 or 1-866-845-TIPS or go online

Cummings’ mother, Anne Johnson, said she and her daughter’s three kids have been broken-hearted since she vanished.

“It has been 20 days our Joleen has been taken from us and is presumed dead,” she said at Friday’s news conference. “It is 20 days [that] we are on our hands and knees for Joleen to return home.”

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