Kimberly Kessler went missing in Pennsylvania 14 years before she turned up in Nassau County, Florida working in a beauty salon, where she is now the prime suspect in the disappearance of another hairstylist.
“She was literally a ghost in the wind,” Pennsylvania District Attorney Richard Goldinger told ABC News, adding that Kessler was known to go to local cemeteries to find names to use as her aliases.
Authorities say that Kessler, who was using the name Jennifer Sybert in Florida, is suspected in the disappearance of Joleen Cummings, 34. Both women worked at the Tangles hair salon. Now in a strange twist, Joleen Cummings is the missing person, and Kessler has been found. The salon is located in Yulee, Florida. Tragically, Cummings is now presumed dead, although her whereabouts are unknown.
1. Kessler Vanished on Independence Day From Pennsylvania 14 Years Ago
Kimberly Lee Kessler was 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.
2. Cummings Worked With Kessler at Tangles
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).
3. Kessler Is Accused of Stealing the Name of a Young Girl Who Died in Germany
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.
The real Kimberly was born in 1968, but she masqueraded as the girl born in 1974. Online records say she also lived in Kansas and Tennessee.
4. Kessler Is Accused of Auto Theft, She Once Lost a Restaurant Job Over Sliced Lemons & a Former Neighbor Called Her a Loose Spirit
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.