• Ann Dugger, formerly of the Justice Coalition, holds up a photo of Joleen at a press conference held Friday. Ann Johnson, mother of Joleen Rebecca Cummings, pleaded for information that could help investigators find her daughter, and asked for prayers. Julia Roberts/News-Leader

Investigation into missing woman goes in ‘many different directions’

Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said Friday that a woman at the center of an investigation into the disappearance of Joleen Rebecca Cummings has a “mysterious past,” which has included addresses in dozens of cities and 14 aliases.

At a press conference Friday, Sheriff Bill Leeper gave an update on the investigation into her disappearance. She has been missing since May 13. Leeper again asked the public for information that could help move forward the investigation into the disappearance of Cummings. Leeper said last week that his department believes Cummings is “no longer alive.”

The last person who might have seen Cummings alive was a hairstylist with whom Cummings worked at Tangles Hair Salon in Fernandina Beach. That coworker was known there as Jennifer Sybert, but whose real name, the investigation has revealed, is Kimberly L. Kessler. Leeper also gave the press a long list of aliases used by Kessler: Christina Melissa Brook – with the middle name also spelled as Malissa, Christina Young, Pamela Kleiber, Melissa McKernan, Melissa Losy, Jennifer Marie Sybert, Mia Stone, Jenn Lee Sybert Allen, Jennifer Seibring, Jennifer Marie Allen, Marie Sybert Stone, Christa Brooks, Pam Cleaver, Pamela Kleiver, Pamela Jean Kleiber, Jenn Siever Allen and Jennifer Seibring.

Leeper said since 1996 Kessler has listed addresses in more than 30 cities, from Arizona to Minnesota, including Jacksonville, Leesburg, Lakeland, Clearwater Beach, St. Petersburg, St. Augustine, Tampa, Oviedo, Boca Raton, and Fernandina Beach. Kessler had driver’s licenses in Pennsylvania, Kansas, Tennessee, Virginia, and Florida. Kessler is also suspected of using a false Social Security number and has been charged by federal authorities with possessing a counterfeit passport.

“As you can see this is very strange,” Leeper said. “We are not quite sure yet why all of the disguises, or if she has been involved in the disappearance of anyone else before, but it seems she has definitely been running from something.” Leeper said his department was not releasing any additional details regarding the case in order to not jeopardize the investigation, but “when we do provide all the details, I believe our community will be shocked.”

Cumming’s body has not been found, despite an exhaustive search of almost 40 areas within the county, Leeper said, using ATVs, boats, horses, helicopters, and airplanes, and on foot with canines.

“We know our suspect was in Nassau County, Duval County, and St. Johns County at various times after May 12th, the last day Joleen was seen,” Leeper said. “So Joleen could be almost anywhere.”

Leeper asked that anyone who may have rented a storage unit to Kessler, or who may have known her to drive any vehicles aside from a black 2016 Kia Soul to contact NCSO.

At Friday’s press conference, Leeper, flanked by Cumming’s mother, Ann Johnson, Senator Aaron Bean and Wally Hodges, Executive Director of First Coast Crime Stoppers, said the investigation has led in “many different directions, as well as the mysterious past of Kimberly Kessler.” He said the FBI, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, State’s Attorney’s Office and other law enforcement agencies are tracking down leads.

Johnson asked for any information that might lead investigators to her daughter. “We’re on our hands and knees for Joleen to return home,” she said through tears. “I want to thank you for coming, and to keep Joleen’s name out there, bring her home, serve justice.”

Cumming’s SUV was found two days after she disappeared. Leeper said last week that video surveillance showed Kessler exiting that vehicle.

Law enforcement officer found Kessler in her car, a Kia Soul, in an I-95 rest area in St. Johns County on the following day. “Based upon the surveillance video of her driving Joleen’s car, we arrested her for grand theft auto and she was booked into the St. Johns County Jail, and ultimately brought back to Nassau County,” Leeper said at the press conference on May 22.

Hodges said First Coast Crime Stoppers is offering a $4,000 reward for information that leads to the resolution of the case. “At this point, in all honesty, I don’t know what’s happened to this young lady,” Hodges said. “I don’t know where she is. This family deserves closure, and the only way they are going to get closure is to find this young lady.” He said Crime Stoppers has had 23 tips in the case, “but obviously we haven’t had the right tips yet.”

Hodges said tips will remain anonymous and can be submitted at (886) 845-TIPS or at fccrimestoppers.com. The NCSO can be contacted at (904) 225-5174, (904) 548-4009, or (855) 725-2630.

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