By Bob Allen
The disappearance of a Missouri Baptist lobbyist’s wife remains a mystery one year after 52-year-old Lynn Messer apparently walked away from the family’s 300-acre farm.
Kerry Messer, founder of the Missouri Family Network, called the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s Office around 9 a.m. on July 8, 2014, to report his wife of 34 years and grandmother of seven was missing.
Messer, who works as a lobbyist at the Missouri statehouse for conservative clients including the Missouri Baptist Convention, told authorities that he awoke to a thunder clap around 4 a.m. that Tuesday next to an empty pillow. He lay there for a few minutes, expecting to hear her rustling around in the old farmhouse, and after hearing nothing got up to look for her.
Posting on Facebook about the one-year anniversary of her disappearance, Messer said his is still looking.
“I am at my wits end,” he wrote. “Every member of the family is exasperated. Our community of friends are perplexed. Law enforcement seems to be stymied. Our little spot on the earth seems to have suddenly stopped spinning, and while our world has crumbled at our feet, everyone else continues to just pass us by.”
The sheriff’s office began searching the family property around 10 a.m., joined later by search teams and rescue dogs from Eureka, Mo., about an hour away. Dogs picked up her scent, but authorities could not distinguish if it was fresh, because search dogs can pick up a scent up to four or five months old.
Authorities said Lynn Messer apparently walked away from the property, but they don’t know why. She left her cell phone, purse and house keys behind, along with a walking boot she had been using to help her get around after a 1,200-pound steer stepped on her foot, leaving her with a broken toe.
Law enforcement found no evidence that there was a break-in at Messer’s home or that she may have been abducted. She had no history of dementia or depression, but she was taking pain medication for her injured toe.
Police questioned Kerry Messer and other family members as possible suspects and searched their electronic devices. The FBI took Lynn’s journals to search for possible clues.
Kerry Messer said a year ago the couple was looking forward to a busy but exciting week. His wife was juggling responsibilities of teaching at their church’s Vacation Bible School and 4-H commitments at the county fair, where their three oldest grandchildren were in the final days of nearly two years of work with show steers, a family interest for three generations.
Other plans for the week included the monthly meeting of the local soil and water board, on which she was an elected member and served as vice president. One of her final projects before going to bed the night before she vanished was a return email to the church office to RSVP the couple’s attendance at the upcoming annual church picnic in a couple of weeks.
Kerry Messer continues to periodically update a Find Lynn Messer Facebook page established in the early days of the search. The Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s Office established a tip line for anyone with information that could aid the search, at (573) 883-5820, extension 27463.
Messer said the last year has been “gut wrenching,” and the only thing that keeps him going is his faith.
“All I know for sure is that God has not lost control and obviously has his own reasons for leaving us without answers for so long,” he wrote.
“In the past I have referred to all of life being turned upside down and inside out at the same time,” Messer said. “Well, it still is. Nothing remains as it was and everything has changed — except one. My God is a Rock which holds fast and never changes. He is the same yesterday, as he is today, and will remain tomorrow. He is trustworthy and true. I can continue to trust him with my life and my wife!”