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Police: Missing Butler County woman who resurfaced as a Florida homicide suspect had 18 aliases

Megan Guza
| Monday, June 11, 2018, 2:27 p.m.
Kimberly Kessler
Nassau County Inmate Search
Kimberly Kessler

A woman missing from Butler County more than a decade ago who turned up last month as a Florida homicide suspect used at least 18 aliases across 33 cities since 1996, police in Florida have said.

Kimberly Kessler, who was missing from Butler County since 2004, had been living under the name Jennifer Sybert in Nassau County, Fla., for years, authorities said.

While she has not been charged in the disappearance of 34-year-old Joleen Cummings, who was reported missing by her mother May 14, she remains a suspect, police said.

At a press conference Friday, Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper told local reporters he thinks the community will be "shocked" when the whole story comes out.

"As we continue to gather more and more evidence and facts, we have learned that this case is very unusual, and one that I'm not sure we have ever seen in Nassau County," Leeper said, according to WJAX.

Cummings was last week leaving Tangles, a hair salon where she worked, May 12. Kessler is allegedly the last one to see Cummings. Authorities have said evidence leads them to believe Cummings is dead, according to ABC News.

Police arrested Kessler on auto theft charges after Cummings' car was found abandoned behind a home improvement store May 15. Security footage from that area showed Kessler parking the car and leaving it there about 1 a.m. May 13.

Kessler has pleaded not guilty in that case, according to News4Jax.com, and she is allegedly not cooperating with detectives.

Tribune-Review news partner WPXI-TV spoke last week with police in Butler, as well as Kessler's former neighbors.

"It's driving me nuts. I don't believe it," Kessler's former neighbor Maria Mills told WPXI. "I mean, she was a loose spirit, but to do something like that, I don't think she's capable."

Pennsylvania State Police told the TV station Kessler's mother reported her missing in 2012 but said she hadn't seen her since 2004.

"We did not expect this was a legit missing person," Trooper Jim Long told WPXI. "This person didn't want to be found."

A woman named Jennifer Sybert, who died more than 30 years ago, is buried in a Butler County cemetery. Authorities believe Kessler stole that identity.

It's one of at least 18 names Kessler has used across 33 cities in 14 states since 1996.

Kessler also faces federal charges filed by the FBI for using a fake Social Security number and possessing a fake passport.

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8519, mguza@tribweb.com or via Twitter @meganguzaTrib.

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