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Butler County woman missing since 2004 resurfaces as suspect in Florida woman's disappearance

Megan Guza
| Tuesday, May 22, 2018, 6:03 p.m.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

A Butler County woman reported missing in 2004 resurfaced as a suspect in the disappearance and possible murder of a Florida woman last week.

Kimberly Kessler, who was using the name Jennifer Sybert, was arrested May 16, two days after mother of three Joleen Cummings was reported missing, according to News4Jax.

Cummings was last seen May 12 leaving Tangles, a hair salon where she worked in Yulee, Fla. Yulee is about 25 miles north of Jacksonville.

Cummings's family reported her missing May 14 after she failed to pick up her children from her ex-husband, the TV station reported. The salon was scheduled to be closed until May 15, at which point police showed up to question Sybert, a fellow stylist. Sybert, however, never arrived at work.

Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said at a Tuesday news conference that they believe Cummings is dead, the News-Leader reported.

Sybert was the last person seen with Cummings before she disappeared, according to the News-Leader. Police found Cummings' car parked behind a home improvement store May 15, and security footage showed Sybert parking the car and leaving it there about 1 a.m. May 13.

"We were hoping to see Joleen get out of that vehicle. But who do you think it was? The Tangles hairstylist," Leeper was quoted as saying, "who was supposedly the last person to see Joleen."

Sybert — who had apparently abandoned the name Kimberly Kessler — was arrested on a charge of grand theft auto, according to WOKV. Police found her living in her car at a rest stop along I-95 in St. Johns County.

Kessler/Sybert was using a fake Social Security number, and she's been charged by the FBI with possessing a fake passport, according to News4Jax. Leeper confirmed that Kessler and Sybert are the same person. She has been named as a suspect in Cummings's disappearance, but she has not been charged.

The TV station posted a screenshot of this missing person poster of Kessler.

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

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