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Local woman's family waited 8 years to report her missing

The family of a Butler woman who is now a suspect in a possible homicide in Florida waited eight years to report her missing, according to Pennsylvania State Police.

Investigators said that Kimberly Kessler was first reported missing by her family in 2012. But she actually disappeared in 2004.

“We weighed that into the investigation as well, that there was a long gap," said Trooper Jim Long. "It's extremely strange and that's why it's making national news at this point.”

RELATED: Joleen Cummings disappearance: Timeline of events

At the time, investigators determined she wasn't in any danger, but how she resurfaced came as a surprise.

“We did not expect this was a legit missing person," Long said. "This person didn't want to be found.”

Kessler, who was living in Jacksonville under the name Jennifer Sybert, is the prime suspect in the disappearance of Joleen Jensen Cummings, 34.


A woman named Jennifer Sybert died more than 30 years ago and is buried at North Side Cemetery in Butler. Kessler apparently took her identity.

“It's driving me nuts. I don't believe it," said Kessler's former neighbor Maria Mills. "I mean, she was a loose spirit, but to do something like that, I don't think she's capable.”

The Nassau County sheriff told reporters Tuesday evidence leads him to believe Cummings is not alive.

Kessler is in jail on charges of grand theft auto after investigators spotted her driving Cummings' vehicle on surveillance video after she went missing.

She’s also the last known person to see Cummings alive.