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Suspect in stylist's disappearance moved to Duval County jail after hunger strike

Kimberly Kessler's bond remains at $500K on grand theft auto charge

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A woman who investigators suspect was involved in the disappearance of a Nassau County mother was moved to the Duval County jail after a hunger strike, authorities said. 

Kimberly Kessler, who was arrested May 22 under the name Jennifer Sybert, was transferred from the Nassau County jail and booked Monday afternoon into the detention facility in Jacksonville, according to online jail records.

The Nassau County Sheriff's Office told News4Jax on Tuesday that Kessler, who is the prime suspect in the disappearance of Joleen Cummings, had refused to eat since June 2.

According to the Sheriff's Office, Kessler's hunger strike began after she read a story about Sheriff Bill Leeper's announcement that she had lived in 33 cities in 14 states under 17 names since 1996. 

Leeper said Kessler indicated that she would resume eating if she was transferred to another jail.

Kessler's bond remains at $500,000 on the car theft charge. Her next court appearance in Nassau County will be June 28.

Holding on to hope

Despite the Nassau County Sheriff's Office saying it has reason to believe Joleen Cummings, 34, is dead, friends and family of the mother of three were back out searching for her Tuesday. Their search focused around the RaceTrac gas station on State Road 200 in Yulee.

Kessler, 43, was charged with grand theft auto after investigators said they found surveillance video showing her dumping Cummings' SUV near a Home Depot in Nassau County. The video was taken hours after Cummings, a 34-year-old mother of three, was last seen at Tangles Hair Salon, where she worked with Kessler.

Deputies said Kessler was the last person to see Cummings, who was reported missing last month after she failed to pick up her children from her ex-husband on Mother's Day. Investigators have since said Cummings is presumed dead.

She has not been charged in Cummings' disappearance, but Leeper has indicated that more charges are likely when evidence clears a crime lab.

About the Authors:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident, journalist and experienced broadcast news producer with a passion for classic and exotic cars.

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013 and reports every weekday for The Morning Show.