YULEE, Fla. – As detectives with the Nassau County Sheriff's Office continue to sift through evidence in the disappearance of Joleen Cummings, the State Attorney's Office has filed a motion to increase the bond for Jennifer Sybert, the suspect in the mother of three's disappearance.
According to the motion, Sybert is charged with grand theft auto, saying she stole Cummings' SUV. Cummings is still missing after vanishing on Mother's Day. Detectives do not believe Cummings is alive.
Retired prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda tried murder cases for decades, and spoke generally about the difficulty that can come with prosecuting cases involving a body that hasn't been found. Sybert has not been charged with murder, although foul play is suspected in Cummings' disappearance, and deputies said more charges are forthcoming.
"What has to be established in any case if a body is not found, is showing the jury that the victim is dead," de la Rionda said. "You have to prove that somebody killed the victim, and that the person is dead."
De la Rionda said establishing a timeline is important for the legal team, and although building cases without a body can be difficult, it can be done.
"It makes the case much much harder," de la Rionda said. "The loved ones of the victim have to be patient and allow police time working in conjunction with prosecutors."
Cummings loved ones are still holding out hope she's alive, and they soon have answers.