A former Butler woman who had been missing since 2004 was arrested last week in Florida and is considered a suspect in the disappearance of her co-worker, police say.
Kimberly Kessler, reported missing from Butler in 2004 under “suspicious circumstances,” was reportedly booked into a Florida jail as Jennifer Marie Sybert, 43, of Fernandina Beach, Fla.
Officers on May 16 arrested Kessler on a charge of grand theft auto, according to an arrest affidavit filed by the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office.
Police were investigating the disappearance of Joleen Cummings, 34, an employee of Tangles Hair Salon in Fernandina Beach where Kessler also worked. She was last seen alive on May 12 and was reported missing on May 14. Police found Cummings’ vehicle in a Home Depot parking lot and when viewing surveillance footage from the store, they allegedly saw a “figure dressed in black” park and exit the vehicle on May 13, according to the affidavit. A short time later, Sybert, dressed in black, is seen on surveillance entering a nearby shopping center and taking a taxi cab to Tangles, document say.
She was arrested at a rest stop in St. John’s County, Fla. and denied ever using Cummings’ vehicle, documents say.
Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper held a news conference Tuesday, at which he said that his department has evidence indicating that Cummings is no longer alive, according to media reports. Leeper said that authorities are continuing to investigate Kessler, who allegedly had a counterfeit passport and had given a fake address to her employer.
Cummings had not been found as of Tuesday night.
Kessler was arrested and booked as Jennifer Marie Sybert, but subsequent court documents list “Marie Kessler” as an alias and “homeless” for her address. Her place of birth is listed as Pittsburgh.
Read more about this developing story in Wednesday’s Butler Eagle.