Florida Co-Worker Charged with Murder in Case of Mom Who Disappeared on Mother's Day

Kimberly Kessler, left, is charged with killing Joleen Cummings.
Kimberly Kessler, left, has been charged with killing Joleen Cummings. Handouts

Kimberly Kessler has been charged with first-degree murder.

A Florida hairdresser has been charged with killing her co-worker, who disappeared on Mother's Day and was never seen again, authorities said. 

Kimberly Kessler, 44, was indicted for first-degree murder by a Nassau County grand jury. Joleen Cummings, 34, was reported missing after she failed to show up for a Mother's Day date with her three children.

Kessler was the last person to see Cummings alive, sheriff's deputies said. Her body has not been found. Both worked at Tangles Hair Salon in Yulee. 

The suspect has lived in 33 cities in 14 states under 17 names since 1996, Sheriff Bill Leeper told reporters Friday, WJXT-TV reported. She also is charged with stealing with Cummings' car and has been in custody since June. She has refused to cooperate with investigators, Leeper said. 

She pleaded not guilty to the grand theft auto charge. It was not clear whether she has entered a plea to the murder count.

"I believe people within our community will be shocked and surprised at what occurred. This is where I grew up. This is my community," Leeper told reporters. "We all hear about cold-hearted, evil people who conduct heinous crimes in other communities all across our state, our nation and the world," the sheriff said. "But when something like this happens in your community, to someone you know, it affects everyone."

Authorities have not released details about the alleged motive for the killing. In June, investigators sifted 6.6 million pounds of trash at a local landfill, and announced they had several items related to Cummings' disappearance. They did not elaborate, the station reported.