Death of Lynn Messer

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Lynn Messer
Lynn Marie Hoog

June 4, 1962
DisappearedJuly 8, 2014 (aged 52)
Bloomsdale, Missouri, U.S.
Body discoveredBloomsdale; November 1, 2016
Known forDisappearance
Height5 ft 2 in (1.57 m)
Kerry K Messer
(m. 1979)
ChildrenAaron Messer, Abram Messer

Lynn Marie Messer (June 4, 1962 – July 8, 2014) was an American woman who was last seen alive during the early hours of July 8, 2014, in the Bloomsdale, Missouri farmhouse she shared with her husband. Her disappearance generated national news coverage. On November 1, 2016, her remains were found on the edge of the farm where she had lived.[1]


At approximately 4:00 a.m. on July 8, 2014, Kerry Messer woke up to find that his wife Lynn wasn't in bed beside him.[2] He looked around the house for her, noticing that Lynn's personal belongings - including her ID, passport, wallet, cell phone, car keys, and the walking boot she used to help protect her broken toe - were all still in the house.[3] Kerry checked the areas around their farm where Lynn would normally be as well as the gravel pathways and roads leading to their farmhouse, and began checking locations beyond the farm that morning before his son called the sheriff's office. After 10 months of cooperation and over 40 in-person and telephone visits with law enforcement, they refused to share where they were in the investigation. The last known communication Lynn had with anyone other than her husband was a phone call she made at 11:30 p.m. on the night of July 7.[3][4]


Police quickly classified Lynn as an "endangered person," given the fact that she had a broken toe at the time and left without her walking boot, leading police to speculate that she found herself in physical danger. Local police, professional Search and Rescue, K-9 Teams, highway patrol, and the FBI were called in to locate her.[4] Search dogs picked up a scent trail leading away from the farmhouse on the day Lynn disappeared, but later that day Kerry asked his son Abram to move their herd of cows to a different field, which destroyed the scent trail.[5] The Messer farmhouse was meticulously searched on the first day and on later dates by both local and federal authorities. No evidence indicated any harm or wrongdoing by her husband Kerry, or any indication of a break-in or struggle of any kind, leading police to believe that she hadn't been abducted.[2][6] Neither the police nor Kerry believed that Lynn had decided to run away from home; she hadn't taken any personal belongings with her, she appeared to enjoy her marriage and family life, and she had recently been discussing exciting future plans such as holidays and Bible classes.[7] After four days of intensive searching, the local Sheriff said he was convinced that Lynn was not on the farm. The official search was suspended and law enforcement supported the family as they continued searching. One of Lynn's sons and one of her brothers-in-law took over directing volunteer search teams for the next 125 days, expending thousands of man-hours in the search.

It was later revealed that Lynn had left a note prior to her disappearance, but the note's contents were kept hidden by Kerry Messer. He later released a portion of the note[8] to the public in an interview. The full note had previously been provided to Sheriff's personnel, but said only that "It was some kind of note of finality, but I don't know what that means and to this day I don't understand it." He has said also that "the first line was an apology (...). It was an 'I'm sorry to put you through this… I love you from the bottom of my heart.'" Kerry Messer explained that the note reveals "some conflicts she was going through.", although he has not explicitly stated that there was an intention of suicide in the note.[9] However, Kerry has since changed his mind and has attributed her death to suicide despite his initial insistence to the contrary.[8]

Lynn Messer's son, Abram Messer, said that his mother had tried to kill herself one time: "After I asked her several times about it, she said 'I went out to the barn to kill myself, and I shot the cats instead.'" [9]

In the first four days, law enforcement directed the search of the farm and key surrounding areas. From that point, friends and family organized the search parties beyond the farm to try to find Lynn. However, all efforts proved unsuccessful. In the months following Lynn's disappearance, over 5,000 acres (2,000 ha) of land were searched, missing posters were posted in Ste. Genevieve county and its surrounding counties, and a Facebook page was set up in order to try and find her.[4] Police sorted through tips provided by members of the public, including many possible sightings that proved to be mistaken identity, but none of the tips provided any useful leads.

As hunting season approached, Kerry created a new not-for-profit educational program, "Support The Hurting", urging hunters, hikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts to be on the lookout for anything suspicious in the woods. His new educational approach was to promote a simple three-step approach to report unusual items which hunters and others might typically ignore. The three-step rule is: "Don't Touch, Document Location, Report to Local Law Enforcement".[4]

Discovery of body[edit]

On November 1, 2016, bones were discovered on the Messer Farm about a mile from the house.[10] They were immediately believed to be the remains of Lynn Messer because of glasses and artificial hips found with them, and shortly afterwards they were positively identified as her by means of dental records.[11]

Her remains were examined by Dr. Mary Case. According to Jason Schott, Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff's Department Major: "She sent a report back on what she did and from what Dr. Case could determine from the bones recovered, it does appear (Lynn) was out there for the two year time period. From the time she disappeared until the time she was discovered." The cause of death had not been determined and Schott said the case will remain open until it is.[10] The body was released to the family in March 2017 and Messer was buried in a private ceremony in Greene County, Arkansas, in June.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Medical examiner confirms body found in St. Genevieve County is that of Lynn Messer". 2016-11-04. Retrieved 2016-11-04.
  2. ^ a b "Wife of Capitol lobbyist missing - The Missouri Times". The Missouri Times. 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  3. ^ a b "Eight Months Later, Mystery of Missing Missouri Farm Wife Continues". Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  4. ^ a b c d 573-518-3617, Renee Bronaugh. "Lynn Messer missing for more than two months". Daily Journal Online. Retrieved 2016-06-05.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Bronaugh, Renee (November 12, 2016). "Suspicions run high within the Messer family". Daily Journal Online. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  6. ^ "One Year Later: More Questions In Case Of Missing Mo. Woman". Archived from the original on 2018-06-23. Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  7. ^ Thompson, Paul (2014-10-11). "Mystery of the real life Gone Girl". Retrieved 2016-06-05.
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^ a b Killeen, Kevin. "New clues: Missing Ste. Genevieve Woman Lynn Messer". Retrieved 2016-08-10.
  10. ^ a b Bronaugh, Renee (March 24, 2017). "New details emerge on Messer case". Daily Journal Online. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
  11. ^ Held, Kevin S. (November 4, 2016). "Authorities say skeletal remains belong to missing Ste. Genevieve County woman". KTVI. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  12. ^ Honeycutt, Sherae (June 30, 2017). "Remains of Lynn Messer laid to rest, death investigation still active". KFVS-TV. Retrieved September 8, 2018.