Aaron Messer, son of Lynn Messer, explained how he came to be on the farm and how his daughter found Lynn’s remains.
“The relationship between my brother and my dad deteriorated so poorly and after mom disappeared, before really a lot of theories developed and came in and the conflict came to a head between Abram and my dad, Abram left the farm and I moved onto the farm,” said Aaron. “So I was not on the farm at the time my mom disappeared and I have moved there since basically in an effort to pull closer to my family and to be closer to my brother, his kids and my sister-in-law and to my dad.”
Aaron said he knew the relationship was very tenuous between his brother and dad, but he wanted to stay close, wanted to find out as much detail as he could of what their attitudes and their approaches were to things.
“I wanted to try to piece it together for myself, because I was hearing from Abram all these conflicts and these struggles with dad,” explained Aaron. “I wanted to not be absent from it. Not that I want to have conflict at all, but I wanted to be able to share the burden, to work with my brother, so he was not in one sense alone struggling with saying Dad says one thing and he is doing other things and not being able to share that and say I see that to be true. I had many reasons for moving onto the farm, none of which was to supplant anyone.”
Aaron said since finding his mom’s remains, the police have ruled out the suspicions like Abram was on the farm, Abram leaves the farm, Aaron’s on the farm, now Aaron finds the body.
“You can draw conclusions there that there is some kind of knowledge or illusion that I’m kind of my dad’s lackey or something,” explained Aaron. “That I was put up to this. So police have been very focused on that. Since finding her remains I have gone through additional voice analyzers, lie detector tests to prove that I had no prior knowledge of where she was. Finding her was an absolute accident.”
Aaron went on to say he and his daughters hopefully will be hunting (today) and next weekend for deer season. In preparation, Aaron and his daughters went out on the farm property early last week to look for where they might set up to hunt.
“Because my brother is not on the farm, there is an opportunity to hunt anywhere rather than go hunt in this space or that space,” said Aaron. “We have had my brother’s kids, my kids and my dad all hunting in the past, so there has been very limited areas to hunt. I was always told they are hunting there, so don’t go in that direction or you will be behind them or be near them too closely.”
Aaron said they were excited they had the opportunity to walk around a lot of places that they wouldn’t normally go for hunting. There is an area on the farm that they refer to as the water gap. It’s the southern most tip of the farm in the furthest woods.
“It’s where the wet-weather creek that runs through the farm comes onto the property coming down stream,” said Aaron. “The fence has always crossed the creek at that point. We were headed out that direction and of course taking our time through the woods. We left about 5 p.m. in the evening, pre-daylight savings time, and we were just going on a walk through the woods to look at places.”
By 6 p.m. they were down in the water gap and started heading up the hill to the back field.
“I walked right past what we have identified as her remains and my daughter, who is 14, actually called out to me and said ‘Dad, Dad, did you see that skeleton in the woods?’ I was like 'what? I didn’t see anything,'” said Aaron. “She said ‘No, there is skull back there and it is human.’ I said no, no, Emily show me what you found.”
Aaron said he and his two daughters walked back down the hill about 30 feet from where they had continued to walk. She pointed it out and he could tell immediately, the skull was laying on its side, to where it sort of tilted upward so the teeth were exposed.
“I could see there were teeth that had fillings, which told me instantly this is a human remain,” Aaron explained. “It is not an animal. I didn’t take any time to examine anything else at that point. As soon as I knew it was human, I didn’t even have my cellphone. I had my daughter give me her phone and got proof it was a skull by taking a picture and I gave the kids very clear directions because I knew it was going to a chaotic moment from here on out.”
Aaron told his girls they were going to go straight home. The farm has locked gates and no one can enter the property without explicit consent from his dad.
“I said we were going to go unlock the gates, I have to get ahold of the police, I have to get ahold of Grandpa, I have to get ahold of Abram and other people,” recalled Aaron. “We need to make sure that they get here and they see it. We were out scouting for hunting, so we were wearing our orange vests because it's archery season and you never know if somebody is where they aren’t supposed to be. You can run into hunters anywhere and no one wants to get shot.”
Aaron said he took one of the orange vests and marked a twig directly above where they found the skull and then walked straight up the hill to an electric fence that runs around the field. They marked the fence there with another orange vest so they could find it again.
“From there it was just a storm of phone calls,” said Aaron. “I tried to reach my brother, he answered, which was a miracle and I told him we found what I believe is Mom's remains. I asked him to please call the police, please get ahold of the detectives who we need to talk to to get them here because this is important. He immediately was on the phone making phone calls to get the police there.”
Aaron said he then tried to call his dad, but he didn’t answer. He knew when they went out into the woods that his dad wasn’t on the farm and that he wasn’t home, but didn’t know how to reach him.
“I then went to calling people who are close to me,” recalled Aaron. “My girlfriend, asking for her prayer, my pastor, asking for his support and encouragement because my girls are 14 and 12 years old and they found human remains. There is going to be some need for ongoing support there and I wanted the right people to be informed.”
Aaron said while Abram was trying to contact detectives he reached out to the police dispatch. Aaron told the dispatcher he needed to reach Detective Lance White with the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s Department and call Sheriff Gary Stolzer because they would know what he was talking about and it was important.
“He said ‘OK we will get somebody to you,'” Aaron said. “There were several other conversations with my brother on the way back to the house. Mind you, the fields we were walking through on the back to the house, this is a mile from home, across the farm and also you barely have any cellphone signal. So phone service was going in and out as we walked and talked.”
Aaron said he had to prep his girls for the rest of the evening because it was going to be very strange. They went home, unpacked from going out in the woods and got his son, who was playing video games.
“We loaded up, went to the gate, unlocked the gate and within a minute of us reaching the gate the sheriff’s department, Gary Stolzer the sheriff and the lead detective Lance White, as well as a deputy arrived,” explained Aaron. “They were there on the scene as soon as we got there.”
Aaron said he drove them straight back to the back field, then they went down through the woods. By then it was 8 p.m. at night and was dark.
“We were using out high-powered flashlights to look around to find where that orange vest was and as soon as we got near the remains the detective and the sheriff and the deputy stepped forward and took control of the scene,” said Aaron. “They identified what was there and then directed me around to where I could see from the outward side what was there.”
Aaron said as they were looking at the scene, there were very clearly items with the body. There was clothing, a blanket or sheet of some kind and a pillow. It was very clearly signs that this was his mother belongings.
“It was clearly a scene that my mother was never buried and clear no one was trying to cover her up,” said Aaron. “Now that we found her on the farm that answered several immediate questions. We know mother never left the farm, she was here. We also don’t really have clear answers as to why she was not found before.”
Aaron said his answer to many of those questions has been and remains the fact that volunteer searchers never searched on the farm. From the Wednesday after Lynn disappeared, volunteers began to search and they were directed in the search efforts off the farm because they were told the police, sheriff’s department, the professional search and rescue teams and volunteer firefighters who responded on that Tuesday had searched the farm three times.
Aaron said he spoke with the detectives and was told he and his daughters would need to all make statements and speak with investigators about how they found Lynn’s remains.
“So it was important they stayed around just to make that statement,” explained Aaron. “Several more detectives came out to help secure the scene. Police had control of the scene from 8 p.m. on Tuesday evening. We had some very difficult family interactions. My ex wanted to take the girls but they had to stay. It was difficult, but we immediately wanted to step in taking the responsibility for communicating with Mom’s family.”
Aaron said as soon as they finished their written statements, they went to see his mom’s sister to speak with her directly. Aaron said they explained what they found and that they were certain from the other items seen there, though they couldn’t be certain of anything else, this was going to be confirmed as Lynn.
“The detectives told me they would have confirmed with positive ID just based on my affirmation of the items around her being hers without needing to confirm anything else,” said Aaron. “They could have confirmed it then, but they really didn't want to confirm ID until they could get forensic control of the scene to make sure there was nothing else there.”
Aaron said he was told they needed to slow this down as quickly as they could so they could do a thorough investigation. Nothing left those woods until Wednesday, at 8:30 a.m. after the FBI took control of the scene and the FBI forensic team out of St. Louis and out of Cape worked all day until 4 p.m. that afternoon.
“They took every shred of evidence, every bone and piece of material,” said Aaron. “Anything that will help determine the cause of death and if anything had happened there besides her death and whether it was voluntary. They’re investigating and as far as the public is concerned, I do not want to hypothesize about what may have happened.
“As much as it would be nice to say we know something for sure, we don’t really know anything for sure, but I will say this, nothing has been ruled out and the evidence itself is indicating that there is no clear reason to believe that my mother put herself there,” stated Aaron. “Everything seems to show a staged scene and that is a general observation.”
Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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