YULEE, Fla. - As the search for Joleen Cummings enters its second week, friends and loved ones are planning a vigil Tuesday evening to pray for the Hilliard mother's safe return.
Cummings was reported missing by her ex-husband May 13 when she did not show up to pick up the couple's three children, according to the Nassau County Sheriff's Office.
The 34-year-old mother was last seen leaving work at Tangles Hair Salon on State Road 200 May 12. Her vehicle was found parked outside a nearby Home Depot three days later.
The hair salon has been closed since Cummings' disappearance. The salon and neighboring businesses have flyers hung up, imploring those with information on her whereabouts to come forward.
Judi Mixon Brown, one of Cummings' clients, described her hair stylist as a wonderful mother and a "responsible" person who kept her word. "If she told you something, you could bank on it," she said.
"We're just extremely worried about her," she added. "The longer this goes on, the more days she's missing, the more concerned we are also for the welfare of her three little children."
Another client, Jessica Permenter, said Cummings cuts her four-year-old son's hair. She said her son, Caleb, won't let anyone else cut it in her absence.
"She's like a mother to him. I mean, she's got the motherly touch. He don't really like anyone to touch his hair. She was so sweet, she's always gentle with him, very caring."
Deputies and volunteers on horseback searched two wooded areas in Hilliard and Yulee over the weekend in response to tips, but returned empty-handed.
Five days before Cummings went missing, deputies were called to a domestic dispute involving her ex-boyfriend at her home. The ex, Jason Gee, was arrested on a probation violation May 15.
Sheriff Bill Leeper initially labeled Gee a person of interest in the case, but wavered on that point in an interview with News4Jax on Monday. Gee has not been charged in Cummings' disappearance.
The sheriff is holding a news conference at 2 p.m. Tuesday to provide an update on the case. Meanwhile, loved ones will gather for a vigil at 7 p.m. the same day at Journey Church of Yulee.
Anyone with information on this case is asked to dial 911. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (866) 845-TIPS.
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