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Messer case remains unsolved

The disappearance and recovery of Lynn Messer’s remains has captivated many and nearly four years later the question of what really happened that day still remains unanswered.

Lynn Messer had a passion for life in everything she did, whether it was the farm, teaching or her family.

Lynn Messer had a passion for life in everything she did, whether it was the farm, teaching or her family.

Ste. Genevieve County Major Jason Schott said the Messer case is still an open/active investigation and will stay that way until they have answers.

“We will never close the case until we can definitively say what happened to her,” said Schott. “We won’t ever close the case, because closing the case pretty much says we aren’t working it anymore. We will never do that, we are always working the case until we get something that is solid that we can run with…”

Schott explained they will never talk about any more details in the case than what they already have so long as it is still an open investigation.

“There are details that we don’t want out that could tip a hand as far as never being able to solve it,” said Schott. “I think so long as it is an active case we are never going to talk more details about the case, other than what we put out already.”

Schott said unfortunately it may be one of those cases that may never get solved or it may take years down the road to be solved.

“You just never know what happens with a case and what one person may bring forward, it might crack it open,” said Schott. “Or there may be future evidence that may be discovered years down the road that might crack it open. It’s anybody’s guess.”

Schott said they have received tips, but it’s nothing substantial that has led them anywhere. Somebody might think they saw something or heard something, but it doesn’t lead them anywhere.

Kerry Messer, Lynn’s husband, was the first to report that Lynn was missing on July 8, 2014. He later recounted how he woke early that morning to find she was not in the home.

Kerry Messer invites select media out to the farm Monday for a sit-down to give reporters the opportunity to ask questions about the case of his missing wife whose remains were recently found. 

Kerry Messer invites select media out to the farm Monday for a sit-down to give reporters the opportunity to ask questions about the case of his missing wife whose remains were recently found. 

An intense investigation started after Kerry searched the common areas around their 250-acre farm.

The Messer farm soon turned into a flurry of activity where St. Louis Regional Command Post, Eureka Search and Rescue, along with K-9 teams, local fire departments and volunteers converged and began searching.

A helicopter was used for aerial searches on the Messer farm when the first search efforts were made to find Lynn Messer.

A helicopter was used for aerial searches on the Messer farm when the first search efforts were made to find Lynn Messer.

As days turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into months, the search parties slowly dwindled, but by then volunteer searchers had combed approximately 5,000 acres. During the initial search by law enforcement they covered approximately 400 acres surrounding the farm.

But then Lynn’s remains were discovered on Nov. 1, 2016, in the woods about 30 yards from the back end of one of the farm’s cow pastures. One of the sons had been scouting for areas to hunt and stumbled upon the body.

The area was immediately considered a crime scene and the sheriff’s department, along with the FBI, collected forensic evidence to find answers.

After Lynn’s remains were found, her two sons, Abram and Aaron Messer, organized and held a memorial service for Lynn in late January, even though her remains hadn’t been released to the family at that time.

A memorial service was held for Lynn Messer before her remains were released to Kerry.

A memorial service was held for Lynn Messer before her remains were released to Kerry.

In late March 2017, the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s Department received a report on Lynn’s remains from the St. Louis County Chief Medical Examiner and Forensic Pathologist Dr. Mary Case. At that time Case determined that Lynn had, in fact, been exposed to the elements for the entire two-year time period she had been missing. There had been some speculation that the body had been moved sometime between the end of the initial intense search efforts and the discovery in November.

During Case’s investigation she felt it would be beneficial to send off hair samples for toxicology testing since nothing came back indicating a definitive cause of death. Those results have since come back inconclusive.

All tests have come back non-conclusive so far, but it doesn’t leave the sheriff’s department with nothing. 

A year ago, Lynn’s remains were released to Kerry and he attempted to have a service, but it was eventually canceled after the church reportedly received numerous phone calls and threats.

The disappearance and discovery of Lynn Messer's remains are still a mystery since no cause of death has been determined as of yet.

The disappearance and discovery of Lynn Messer’s remains are still a mystery since no cause of death has been determined as of yet.

Picture boards were set up at a memorial service held in January by Lynn's sons before her remains were discovered.  

Picture boards were set up at a memorial service held in January by Lynn’s sons before her remains were discovered.  

Search and Rescue volunteers spent countless hours looking for any clue as to where Lynn Messer could have gone following her disappearance from the family farm in the summer of 2014.

Search and Rescue volunteers spent countless hours looking for any clue as to where Lynn Messer could have gone following her disappearance from the family farm in the summer of 2014.

Kerry Messer and volunteers keep a large map and mark off sections as those are searched.

Kerry Messer and volunteers keep a large map and mark off sections as those are searched.

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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