Midlothian man last seen with missing woman charged in separate felony denied bond

Posted at 7:25 PM, Jul 23, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-25 19:15:59-04

LANCASTER COUNTY, Va. – Sunday marked two week since 43-year-old Claudine Gifford vanished after leaving a tiki bar in the Northern Neck.

Sheriff’s deputies said she was last seen the evening of July 6, with James Todd Kessler.

Kessler, age 53, was arrested Wednesday on one charge of felony aggravated malicious wounding, although the charge is unrelated to the investigation for Gifford's disappearance.

The charge stems from an altercation at the tiki bar at Pelican Point Restaurant at Windmill Point Marina on July 19.

Kessler, who was denied bond in court Friday morning, is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 3.

The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office is interested in speaking with four white males reported to have assisted Gifford from the Tiki Bar at Windmill Point into a silver Nissan SUV on July 6.  These four males are asked to contact Lt. E.T. Self or Inv. D.S. Hogge at the sheriff’s office.

Gifford’s estranged husband joined search teams in Lancaster County recently in hopes of finding any clues into her disappearance.

“It’s a double-edged sword.  You’re looking at something so beautiful here, and then on the other side of it… I just want to be close to what is going on,” Richard Gifford said.

Rich and his wife were living apart for the past year or so, but he drove up from Orlando, Florida as the days rolled on with no sign of Claudine.

Rich and Claudine have a 15-year old daughter who is in Florida using the internet to track the search for her mother closely.

“I think the reality of it all is beginning to come into play for her,” Gifford said.

No one knows where Gifford is or why she disappeared. Her husband is hoping even the smallest piece of information will help find his wife.

Gifford described his wife a soft-spoken woman who is loved by everyone she knows. She is 5 feet 4 inches tall weighing about 112 pounds and was last seen wearing a multicolored tank top, blue jeans and sandals.

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).