Florida Woman Sentenced To Life In Prison For 2018 Murder Of Co-Worker Who Was A Mom-Of-3

February 08, 2022
(L-R) Joleen Cummings and Kimberly Kessler side-by-side photos

(L-R) Joleen Cummings and Kimberly Kessler

Photo by: Nassau County Sheriff's Department

Nassau County Sheriff's Department

(L-R) Joleen Cummings and Kimberly Kessler

By: Mike McPadden

A Florida judge sentenced Kimberly Kessler to life behind bars for the 2018 killing of her hair salon co-worker, Joleen Jensen Cummings.

On December 9, 2021, a jury found Kessler guilty of first-degree murder and grand theft auto. Authorities say 34-year-old Cummings' body has never been found, but she is now believed dead.

Cummings’ mother Anne Johnson sent the following message to News4JAX:

“Lord, in Your grace and mercy, we pray that you would give justice. Justice for my daughter Joleen and peace for our family in the name of Jesus Christ. We have endured such pain and agony as we faithfully awaited this day for Justice. Wrap your saving arms of grace upon us. We ask this in the precious name of the Lord Jesus, Amen.”

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: 2019

Kessler, who was using a false name at the time, had been listed as "missing" from Pennsylvania since 2004.

Cummings was last seen on May 12 leaving Tangles, the hair salon where she worked. Family members reported Cummings missing the next day, after she failed to pick up her children from her ex-husband for a Mother's Day celebration. Mother's Day was also Cummings' birthday.

After intense searching, law enforcement now presumes Cummings is dead. Without being specific, Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper told the press:

"On May 15, officers found the Ford SUV Cummings was driving abandoned in a Home Depot parking lot. Surveillance footage revealed someone sitting inside the driver's seat, and then getting out and walking to a gas station."

Police say they have identified the person on the video as Julie Sybert, 50, a woman who also worked at Tangles on the last day anyone saw Cummings alive. She was found living out of her Kia Soul in nearby St. John's County the following day.

Further investigation has reportedly revealed that Sybert had given her employers a fake address and Social Security number, and the FBI has since charged her for possessing a counterfeit passport.

In addition, since 2004, Sybert has been listed as "missing under suspicious circumstances" from Butler, Pennsylvania. However, the name she was reported missing under is Kimberly Kessler, which is actually her real name.

Compounding the overall air of mystery is that Jason Gee, Cummings' ex-boyfriend, remains a "person of interest" in the case.

Five days before the disappearance, a neighbor called police to report what sounded like "a loud argument with things being broken."

Cummings told responders that Gee had shown up and wanted to stay at the house, but she told him to leave. Police later found Gee hiding under a pile of cardboard boxes and arrested him on an outstanding warrant for violating probation.

In the meantime, Leeper has said that authorities are continuing to search for Joleen Cummings. Anyone with information on Cummings or Kessler can call the Nassau County Sheriff's Department at (904) 548-4005 or First Coast Crime Stoppers at (866) 845-8477 (TIPS).

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