NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – For the family and friends of Joleen Cummings, Wednesday is a day filled with grief and reflection. It marks three years since the Nassau County mother of three was last seen alive.
Her former coworker, Kimberly Kessler, is set to go on trial this year for her murder.
Cummings’ remains are still missing, and three years later, her mother, Anne Johnson, still asks for prayers that they are found, so her daughter can be laid to rest.
Johnson released a statement, marking the heartbreaking day.
“The children are surrounded by Joleen’s pictures. While I know Joleen’s soul is in heaven, I feel her spirit is here, watching over her children. Sometimes, I hear her say, ‘Mom do this or do that. Kiss and hug the kids for me.’ It brings a smile to my face and tears to my eyes,” Johnson wrote.
The family also released a photo of Cummings that was taken after the birth of her youngest child.
Cummings was last seen alive on May 12, 2018, at the Tangles Hair Salon in Nassau County. Her mother said the next day, Mother’s Day, would have been Cummings’ birthday, but instead, she was reported missing when she didn’t pick up her children to spend time with them that day, as she was scheduled to do.
Kessler has been charged with Cummings’ murder after deputies say blood evidence was found in the hair salon. Despite a lengthy search, including one at a Georgia landfill, no trace of Cummings’ remains has ever been found.
“A life has been cut short through an act of cruelty,” Johnson wrote. “The disregard for human life adds overwhelming feelings of turmoil, distrust, injustice, and helplessness to a normal sense of loss and sorrow. The world no longer feels as safe as it once did. When your child is murdered, grief is only the beginning.”
Johnson also shared an image of a porcelain angel bearing the message: “Daughters are a special blessing.”
She said she asked her daughter about the angel figure during their last conversation. Johnson had placed it on Cummings’ workstation at the salon.
Investigators believe Kessler, Cummings’ co-worker at Tangles salon in Nassau County, is the last person to have seen Cummings alive.
Kessler, who was initially arrested on an auto theft charge a few days after Cummings vanished, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the case. She was at one point deemed not competent for prosecution but that decision was later reversed and she is now slated to stand trial for Cummings’ murder.
Kessler is due for another court appearance later this month. Her trial, for now, is set for this August.
The case attracted national attention in part because authorities said Kessler, who went by Jennifer Sybert, has used 17 different aliases over the years.