Midlothian man named person of interest in missing woman case

Todd Kessler and Claudine Gifford

LANCASTER COUNTY, Va. — A Midlothian and White Stone man was named a person of interest  in the disappearance of Claudine Gifford, according to Lancaster Sheriff Ronald D. Crockett.

The sheriff would not say exactly why James T. “Todd” Kessler, 53, was now considered a person of interest. Kessler was arrested last month on one charge of felony aggravated malicious wounding after an altercation at the tiki bar at Pelican Point Restaurant at Windmill Point Marina on July 19. The charge was unrelated to Gifford’s disappearance.

“It was information obtained from Kessler that led to the July 15 interest to speak to four white males who were reported to have assisted Gifford into a silver Nissan SUV on July 7,” the sheriff said.

Gifford, 44, was last seen Sunday, July 6 leaving the tiki bar with Kessler.

Search and rescue teams looked for her around Windmill Point and in Cox’s Farm near Kilmarnock, but found no sign of Gifford. Gifford’s estranged husband joined search teams in Lancaster County recently in hopes of finding any clues into her disappearance.

If you have information that could help investigators, call the Lancaster Sheriff’s Office at 804-462-5111 or Crime Solvers at 804-46-CRIME(462-7463).

This is a developing story.

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