YULEE, Fla. - As investigators released disturbing details Friday about a suspect in the disappearance of a beloved Nassau County hairstylist, the missing woman's mother made another tearful plea to the community for information that might bring her family closure.
Joleen Cummings, a stylist at Tangles Hair Salon, was last seen at work May 12. Detectives said they have reason to believe Cummings is no longer alive, but have not said what those reasons are.
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Investigators have received 23 tips from the public via CrimeStoppers, but none has led them to Cummings, and the organization has now increased the reward to $4,000 for information leading to an arrest in the case. Tipsters can remain anonymous by calling 1-866-845-TIPS or visiting fccrimestoppers.com.
Sheriff Bill Leeper said that investigators have uncovered a lot of evidence connected to Cummings' co-worker, Jennifer Sybert, who was the last person to see the mother of three and is considered a suspect in Cummings' disappearance.
Sybert, whose real name is Kimberly Kessler, has lived in 33 cities in 14 states under 17 names since 1996, Leeper said. She has had driver's licenses in five states under various names. (Jump to list of suspect's aliases; Jump to location history)
“We're not quite sure yet why all the disguises or if she has been involved in the disappearance of anyone else before, but it seems she is definitely running from something," Leeper said, adding that he doesn't believe Nassau County has ever seen a case like this before.
Leeper said investigators have combed through hours of surveillance video from businesses and searched close to 40 locations in Nassau County where Sybert is believed to have been, along with locations she traveled to in Duval and St. Johns counties.
“Joleen could be almost anywhere," Leeper said.
The FBI is now involved in the investigation, and Leeper hesitated to provide any more details in case it might hurt the case.
“When we provide all the details," Leeper said, "I believe our community will be shocked."
He asked for anyone who might have rented a storage unit to Sybert or who saw her driving around at any point to contact investigators.
Sybert was arrested May 16 and charged with grand theft auto, after investigators said they found surveillance video showing her leaving Cummings' SUV near a Home Depot. There was no sign of Cummings in the video.
Leeper said his investigators are waiting for forensic evidence to be processed in a crime lab, which can take time, but hinted that more charges are likely coming for Sybert.
- Kimberly L. Kessler
- Christina Melissa (Malissa) Brook
- 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
Former FBI agent Toni Chrabot told News4Jax that the FBI will have to launch an investigation into each each alias.
"She jumped jurisdictions," said Chrabot, who's now CEO of Risk Confidence Group. "If she was never fingerprinted, there may have not been any match."
She said the challenge from agents will be trying to identify when Sybert was in each city, how long she was there, what she was doing there and why.
"This may very well be a very twisted set of facts as it comes out to the public down the road," Chrabot said. "She is obviously very much a con person, a con artist, she understands the system, she knows what is required, she’s very savvy.”
Cummings' mother, Anne Johnson, issued another tearful plea for the public to help bring her daughter home, asking for anyone with any information about Sybert or her daughter to come forward.
“It's been 20 days, we're on our hands and knees for Joleen to return home,” Johnson said, choking back sobs during Friday's news conference, but she rallied and thanked the community for their prayers and support. “If there's one thing that I do believe, in the last 20 days, it's that good prevails over evil in the overwhelming support that I have received.”
Johnson emphasized that she trusts the Nassau County investigators and other agencies working on the case will not stop until they find her daughter.
“Each one of you has had someone in your life that you love, and if you were forced to live a moment of this nightmare, I would pray that the people with the information would come forward. My family is asking (for) the same respect and compassion as we would show yours,” Johnson said. “Please bring Joleen home and fight for justice.”
Anyone with information is encouraged to call Nassau County detectives at 904-548-4005 or CrimeStoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Cummings' children. Click Here to donate.
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