The identity of human skeletal remains found in rural Ste. Genevieve County on Tuesday evening has been confirmed.

Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff Gary Stolzer said the remains located by a member of the Messer family on the family's farm near the junction of Route DD and Dry Fork Road were positively identified to be those of Lynn Messer, who went missing a little more than two years ago.

Messer reportedly disappeared in the early morning hours on July 8, 2014. She was last seen at her rural home on 250 acres she shared with her husband, Kerry Messer, a Jefferson City lobbyist.

Word of her disappearance resulted in a massive search effort by law enforcement, family, friends and neighbors.

As days turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into months, the search parties eventually slowed and dwindled.

Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff Gary Stolzer said after the discovery on Tuesday the FBI was called in to process the entire scene.

“We were called and it was discovered by a hunter in the woods who was scouting out hunting locations,” said Stolzer. “When we got there it was dark so we didn’t do anything with the scene. We just identified it was in fact skeletal remains and contacted the FBI.”

Stolzer said the remains were located approximately a mile from the house by family members scouting for deer ahead of the upcoming firearms deer season.

Stolzer said it's still too early to know the cause of death. He said now that the remains have been positively identified they will be transported to a lab where experts will further examine the bones for clues of how Messer died.

“We are no further today on this case, other than we have a body. We don’t know if there was foul play, we don’t know if she just walked off, we don’t know (anything) right now,” Stolzer said.

Kerry Messer had told the Daily Journal that Lynn had undergone two artificial hip replacements in recent years. He said on Wednesday that he had been told by investigators that the hip implants had been found with the remains, along with a pair of glasses.

"If there had not been artificial hips then we would have known immediately it was not Lynn," said Kerry. "It's about as obvious as it can be until we can get scientific data. From my understanding those artificial hip parts have serial numbers in them that will have to be crossed referenced with medical records."

Many people have asked the question in recent days of how the body remains could be located now when searchers combed the area in the days after her disappearance in July of 2014.

“This was an area that was searched before and I don’t understand that," Kerry said. "Over the last two plus years I have seen numerous stories of the remains of missing persons being found in the exact same spots where they searched with dogs years before. This is going to possibly be one of those cases.”

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or rbronaugh@dailyjournalonline.com

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