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Woman Who's Allegedly Assumed 17 Identities In 20 Years Charged With Co-Worker's Murder
After years assuming different identities, accused killer Kimberly Kessler "came to the wrong county and messed with the wrong people," police said.
A woman who allegedly has assumed 17 different identities since 1996 has been formally accused of killing a Florida hairstylist who disappeared after failing to show up for a Mother's Day date with her children earlier this year.
The Nassau County Sheriff's Office said Kimberly Kessler, 44, who worked at the same hair salon as Joleen Cummings, 34, has now been charged with first-degree murder in Cumming's death.
Despite Cummings' body having yet to be recovered, a grand jury examining the case decided there was enough evidence to indict Kessler on the murder charge. Additionally, an indictment released on Monday accused Kessler of using or attempting to use a weapon to kill her co-worker, News4JAX reports.
According to Sheriff Bill Leeper, the suspect is a woman of many faces: Kesslet has lived in 33 cities under 17 different names since 1996, News4JAX reports.
"I'm not sure what she was hiding from, but this time she came to the wrong county and messed with the wrong people," Leeper said, as quoted by the Northeast Florida-based outlet. "Hopefully she will never have the opportunity to do anything like this ever again."
Cummings was last seen on May 12 and failed to pick her children up the following day for a Mother's Day date, a spokesperson for the Nassau County Sheriff's Office told Oxygen.com. She was officially reported missing on May 14.
Her SUV was found abandoned in the parking lot of a Home Depot on May 15.
When investigators examined surveillance footage, Kessler was seen getting out of the vehicle. Authorities arrested her on May 16, charging her with grand theft auto. She later pleaded not guilty to that charge in June, according to People.
On the night Cummings went missing, Kessler was also seen on video dressed in all black and driving the victim's car. She was then viewed getting out of the car and walking into a gas station, according to WFLA 8.
Leeper said Kessler has not cooperated with law enforcement. And while a motive has not been determined, he feels confident they've nabbed the person responsible for the crime.
"I believe people within our community will be shocked and surprised at what occurred," he told News 4 JAX.
Cummings' friends and family described the single mom as a talented, hardworking hairdresser who loved her children.
“I just hope that there was no suffering," friend Alma Powers told News 4 JAX, adding that the thought a weapon was used in the crime gave her "chills."
Cummings' mother, Anne Johnson, told the station she believed her daughter was stolen from the family by a "monster."
"What haunts me most is how scared Joleen must have been through this whole horrific ordeal and how hard Joleen must have fought for her life, as I know she was fighting for the life of her three children," she said.
[Photo:Nassau County Sheriff's Office/ Facebook]