It’s been exactly one year since Lynn Messer disappeared from her rural home in Ste. Genevieve.
Kerry Messer woke in the early morning hours only to discover his wife, Lynn, was not in bed with him. He got up and looked around the house for her unable to locate her and he then went on to search the common areas around their 250 acre farm where she would normally be found.
When Kerry still couldn’t locate her, he became increasingly concerned and called 911 to have the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s Department come out to help assist. As the hours passed, his property soon turned into a command post where St. Louis Regional Command Post, Eureka Search and Rescue, along with K-9 teams, local fire departments and volunteers were all on scene searching full force for his wife.
As days turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into months the search parties slowly dwindled down and less people were going out to volunteer their time. Kerry, on the other hand, says he still has hope in finding his wife and still is able to gather enough people to do searches each weekend. They have searched over 5,000 acres so far.
Fliers of Lynn are seen in storefronts all over Ste. Genevieve, surrounding areas and beyond. A Facebook page “Find Lynn Messer” is set up and has over 6,400 likes on it. Kerry posts his thoughts, feelings and pleas for the world to read.
Since that morning Kerry says he has never given up hope that he would find out what happened that life-changing morning when his world was turned upside down. Keeping faith in God’s plan, he has been trying to make it through one day at a time.
“I have gotten a lot of advice from a lot of people and the picture is you just manage it,” said Kerry. “My mind goes to the first few days that we were looking for Lynn and how I was thinking how in the world a week can go by without us finding her. The days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months and here we are looking at an entire year. It is very overwhelming.”
Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff Gary Stolzer said they will continue to look for her and follow up on any leads they get. He added that she has not be forgotten and that it is a tough case.
“In a community like ours we don’t have a lot of disappearances, so I think it is forever on the minds of the detectives that work it,” said Stolzer. “I think they are always thinking about it because it bugs them as much as it bugs me. For as long as I live, it will bug me and that is the truth. It will be years for it to be a cold case here compared to St. Louis because things like this just don’t happen here. It’s a tough case and we will have to see where it takes us some day.”
Stolzer added on occasion they will receive a call with somebody telling them they had an idea of where to look, but none of them are solid leads. He added that in most cases it’s a location they had already checked.
Kerry said that he has started having contact with a variety of missing person’s organizations in Missouri and around the nation. There are 100,000 plus missing people out there, so there are a lot of hurting family members and loved ones.
“Through this last year, I have had various opportunities to speak to or message somebody who is contemplating harming themselves or running off and disappearing,” said Kerry. “I have been able to talk to several folks about how harmful that is to the people you think you love and how that is the most horrible thing you could ever do. Right now we don’t know what to do. We literally just don’t have the foggiest idea of what to do. Everybody in the family, there are four generations of family and everybody is struggling.”
Kerry said he was somewhat devastated the other day. For many months he has been driving through a couple of the local intersections by his home and watching those fliers deteriorate in the weather over the period of 12 months has been really harsh. He added that it’s so emotionally hard to take them down and put a fresh one up.
“The other day I drove through the intersection and someone had removed the missing person flier and put up a missing dog flier in its place,” said Kerry. “No offense to the people and it could have been the highway department that just cleaned off the road signs, but to see that crisp, clean, well laminated signs in the intersection for a lost dog and Lynn’s poster to be gone for the first time really hurt. It would have been one thing to see the signs cleaned up, but to see a lost dog poster in its place was just too much to deal with.”
Kerry said they are very lucky to have all Lynn’s information in national databases. At the time they didn’t see it as a blessing, but her DNA is in the database. Prior to her disappearance there had been a break-in at their office in Jefferson City and part of the investigation was to have DNA collected from the people who would have frequented the facility. There are also fingerprints because she had a carry and conceal permit and it was required for a background check.
“These types of things are important and it gives you a degree of confidence that if anything shows up somewhere, hopefully they will enter into or match it against the national database,” said Kerry. “It is still hard to find words and I still can’t wrap my head around any of this. We are asking people to please pray for our family, for Lynn and continue to pray for law enforcement to have the wisdom to know where and how to look.”
Kerry said they have worked with local law enforcement, state patrol at state level and FBI at the federal level. They are trying to figure things out and he has had a lot of law enforcement in his home this last year at all three levels. He said they have gone through everything and can’t find anything that points them in a direction.
Anyone with any information or sightings of Lynn is asked to contact their local law enforcement agency or the Ste. Genevieve Sheriff’s Department tip line at 573-883-5820 Ext. 27463.