Joleen Cummings is a hairstylist who vanished from Tangles salon in Florida, and, in an odd twist, authorities say the suspect is Kimberly Kessler, a woman who herself was reported missing in Pennsylvania years before.
In Florida, Kessler was using the name of a child who died long ago in Germany: Jennifer Sybert. Cummings, 34, worked at the Tangles hair salon with Kessler/Sybert. The salon is located in Yulee, Florida. Tragically, Cummings, who also was known as Joleen Jensen, is now presumed dead, although her whereabouts are unknown.
1. Cummings Didn’t Show Up to Pick Up Her Kids on Mother’s Day
Joleen Cummings worked with Kimberly Kessler at the Tangles hair salon. Cummings was reported missing when she didn’t show up to pick up her three children for Mother’s Day, her ex-husband told authorities. Police called Joleen a missing endangered person, and they wrote, “Joleen Rebecca Cummings has been missing since May 13, 2018. She was last seen leaving her job in Yulee at five pm on Saturday May 12th. She was supposed to meet her ex-husband in Hilliard, Florida the next day, on May 13th, to pick up her children and never showed up.”
Authorities added: “She may be traveling in a 2006 beige Ford Expedition with license plate Florida/ 035KBQ…Joleen has also used the last name of ‘Jensen” in the past.'”
Kessler/Sybert was the last known person to see Kessler.
The Nassau County Sheriff’s Department is requesting anyone who had an appointment at Tangles or stopped in to contact them. “The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office is seeking information from ANYONE who had an appointment, or stopped into the Tangles Salon, located at 74315, Florida A1A, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034 on Saturday May 12th,” a Facebook post from the Sheriff’s Department says.
“Please contact Detective Beazley at (904) 548-4005. Leave a message with your phone number and name and a Detective will call you back as soon they are available. If you want to remain anonymous and report a crime tip call the First Coast Crime Stoppers at: 1-866-845-TIPS (8477). *** You can also post tips online at http://www.fccrimestoppers.com.”
2. Joleen’s Mother Wrote That the Family Will ‘Not Rest Until She’s Brought Home’
Anne Johnson, Joleen’s mother, has posted a series of heartbreaking posts on Facebook. “Today was one of the worst days of my life. My daughter has been missing 9 days and today I was informed that my daughter may no longer be alive. My faith is strong and God has performed miracles before. Regardless my beautiful daughter will be brought back home,” she wrote.
“Prayers are being heard!’ Tonight on the way home from the vigil my son and I saw the brightest star in a pitch black night, Only one star and it followed us home. I know it was my Joleen Jensen- You are my star shine brightest on the darkest night. Her brother and I felt her presence. Have no fear, we will not rest until she’s brought home to her family and children.”
She also wrote that Joleen’s stepfather was also undergoing cancer surgery, but she insisted, “We are being tested, but faith will not be lost! Thank you to everyone that came out tonight. It was a witness of love in our community.Now please bring Joleen home! We love each one of you! Please keep my family in your prayers.”
Johnson also shared a post from Joleen’s brother, who wrote that a piece of him was dying every day his sister was missing.
Anne also wrote, “Our hearts are so empty without my daughter home. Days have now turned into a week since anyone has seen my daughter. Please God, hear our prayers to bring Joleen safely home. Guardian Angels you have never failed me in finding something I have lost. Please lead the authorities to where she can be found. Hover over her and protect her. Lord Jesus Christ hear our prayers.”
On Facebook, Joleen wrote that she had studied at The Aveda Institute in Jacksonville, Florida and lived in Fernandina Beach, Florida. Most of her photos on Facebook showed before and after pictures of hairstyles she created.
Her cover photo on Facebook was a photo of Marilyn Monroe with the saying, “Hairstylists are a girl’s best friend.” Friends and loved ones express anguish on social media. “Please continue to pray for this family and babies. I’ve know Joleen for over 20 years and this breaks my heart. ???” one woman wrote.
Her family has held vigils for Joleen. “Love and faith sustain us,” her mother wrote on Facebook. Her mother also shared this heartbreaking slideshow on Facebook.
In January, Joleen wrote on another Facebook page of hers, “God is so good to these babies and I.” She also posted a collage of photos with her children on that Facebook page.
3. Kessler, Who Was Missing for Years, Is Accused of Stealing the Name of a Young Girl Who Died in Germany
Kimberly Lee Kessler was herself reported missing on July 4, 2004 in Butler, Butler County Pennsylvania, according to a missing person’s poster for her. However, her family did not report her missing to authorities for eight years.
Trooper Jim Long told WPIX that authorities suspected she had disappeared voluntarily. “We did not expect this was a legit missing person,” Long said to the television station. “This person didn’t want to be found.” He told The Butler Eagle: “She wanted to be hidden from a paramour.”
The missing poster says she was 35 at the time she disappeared. She was described as 5 foot 3 inches to 5 foot 5 inches tall and 130 to 140 pounds with blue eyes and dyed red hair. Her distinguishing characteristics were described as pronounced varicose veins on both legs and a leg that was broken during childhood at age 6. She also went by the alias Pamela Kleber/Kleiber.
“Kimberly Kessler was last seen on Independence Day, July 4, 2004. She disappeared under suspicious circumstances,” the poster says. Her profile is now gone from the Pennsylvania missing persons’ website, which says she has been found.
Kimberly Kessler took the name Jennifer Sybert and moved to Jacksonville, Florida.
According to WPXI, the answer to the new identity can be found in a Pennsylvania cemetery. “A woman named Jennifer Sybert died more than 30 years ago and is buried at North Side Cemetery in Butler. Kessler apparently took her identity,” the television station reported.
There’s a photo of the tombstone on the Find a Grave website. It says that Jennifer Marie Sybert was born in 1974 and died at age 12 on June 13, 1987 in Reinharts, Kemptener Stadtkreis, Bavaria (Bayern), Germany. According to a family website, the real Jennifer died in a car accident.
“Jennifer was born 5 Sep 1974. She died 13 Jun 1987 in Rheinbert, Germany from automobile accident. She was buried in North Cemetery, Butler, Pennsylvania,” the site says.
4. Authorities Traced Kessler to Cummings’ Car
Kessler has been charged with auto theft while the investigation into Cummings’ disappearance continues. Kessler “is seen on video driving the missing Yulee hair stylist and co-worker’s vehicle,” Jacksonville.com reported. The site reported that police tried to talk with Kessler after Cummings vanished “but she never came to work and the address she had given her boss was bogus.” Then came the biggest clue: She was seen in a security video “driving Cummings’ Ford Expedition as it was abandoned May 13 in a Florida A1A parking lot in Yulee.”
According to the newspaper, Kessler was found “sleeping in her own Kia Soul at an Interstate 95 rest stop in St. Johns County” and also faces a federal charge for possessing a counterfeit passport. The social security number she was using proved false.
The Sheriff revealed that authorities have evidence leading them to suspect that Cummings is no longer alive, but police have not released it.
Those who knew “Jennifer Sybert” as Kimberly Kessler expressed surprise at the developments. “It’s driving me nuts. I don’t believe it,” Kessler’s former neighbor Maria Mills told WPXI-TV. “I mean, she was a loose spirit, but to do something like that, I don’t think she’s capable.”
A man who knew Kessler growing up told the television station, “She was just a little odd. Couldn’t hold a job or anything. She got accused of stealing from some of the jobs she was at.”
She was described as “secretive” by a man who rented a room to her in Clearwater, Florida in 2011 and who spoke about the encounter to WPXI. A team of reporters for the television station has been piecing together Kessler’s life as Jennifer Sybert in Florida.
Reporter Amber Krycka wrote on Twitter: “Manager at Woody’s BBQ in Fernandina Beach, near Tangles Hair Salon, says Kimberly Kessler worked there for about a week. He says she quit after an argument with another employee over sliced lemons.”
5. Authorities Searched a Wooded Area on Horseback & Jailed Cummings’ Ex-Boyfriend on a Probation Violation Charge
According to CBS 47 reporter Brittney Donovan, Joleen Jensen Cummings’ ex-boyfriend is named Jason Gee. “He is in jail on a violation of probation charge. Records show another ex-girlfriend of Gee’s told police he broke her dishes, shattered her phone and slashed her tires then threatened to make her life ‘miserable,'” she wrote on Twitter.
He was arrested on the probation violation the day after Cummings’ car “was found abandoned in a parking lot nearby on May 15,” according to CBS News.
CBS reported that police searched a wooded area on horseback looking for Cummings to no avail.