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Kerry and Lynn

Kerry Messer, left, is pictured with his wife Lynn Messer. Her body was discovered on their property more than two years after she reportedly disappeared during the night. 

Skeletal remains were found on the Messer farm at the junction of Route DD and Dry Fork Road in Ste. Genevieve County early Tuesday evening around dusk by a hunter scouting the area in preparation for deer hunting.

Lynn Messer went missing just over two years ago. Her husband Kerry Messer, 57, a conservative Jefferson City lobbyist, told investigators he woke up in the early morning hours on July 8, 2014, at his rural home to find his then 52-year-old wife missing.

An intense investigation started that morning once the authorities were notified. Kerry reportedly searched the common areas around their 250 acre farm where she would normally be found before filing a report.

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

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Messer Update

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.

As days turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into months, the search parties eventually slowed and dwindled. In the two years since volunteer searchers had searched approximately 5,000 acres. The initial search by law enforcement comprised approximately 400 acres including and surrounding the farm.

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Messer searchers

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

Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff Gary Stolzer said this morning that the FBI has been called in to process the entire scene. He reminded that it's too early to confirm for sure that the remains are that of Lynn Messer. 

“We were called last night 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. They will be here shortly.”

Stolzer said the remains were located approximately a mile from the house and that no media would be allowed on the property.

“Kerry wants no media there and no one will be able to reach the area,” said Stolzer. “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.”

Kerry Messer said this morning that they have to wait for confirmation.

“It was a hunter who found something and there are some details there that makes us think it very likely it could be Lynn,” explained Kerry. “The location and some articles that were found. I have no absolute confirmation on anything and the sheriff’s department hasn’t touched anything from what I understand.

"I can’t confirm whether there were artificial hips. (Lynn Messer had undergone two hip replacement surgeries over the years.) The FBI is supposed to show up later this morning to start processing the scene.”

Kerry added he is not sure how long he will have to wait to find anything out and stressed this is why they need all hunters everywhere to be vigilant and not to assume anything.

Ironically, Kerry started a dedicated campaign last year to have hunters everywhere pay close attention for such things as small personal items that might otherwise just appear to be trash, but that might be significant in any missing person investigation.

“Right now we are trying to hold ourselves together while we wait for the confirmation, which we suspect is going to be what we fear,” said Kerry. “This was an area that was searched before and I don’t understand that. 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.”

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Where is Lynn Messer?

Kerry said this may not be Lynn, this may be someone else, but Lynn is the only reported missing person in the immediate area.

Sheriff Stolzer agreed to keep the Daily Journal updated as information is available.

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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