A two-year-old missing person case is taking a toll on the family of a Missouri Baptist lobbyist amid release of new information about the disappearance of 52-year-old Lynn Messer from the family farm in the early morning hours of July 8, 2014.
Abram Messer, 34, who in the past lobbied with his father, Kerry Messer, on behalf of conservative clients including the Missouri Baptist Convention at the state capitol in Jefferson City, Mo., told St. Louis radio station KMOX July 7 he believes his father is hiding something about the disappearance of his wife of 34 ½ years.
“I see two possibilities,” Abram said. “Number one: that my mother walked out of the house, took her own life, and my father moved her body in an effort to protect himself or protect his assets, to protect the farm — or, he was more directly involved.”
“This is the first time Abram has made this kind of accusation that I am aware of,” the father said. “It is sad to see him come to this kind of state. If this is what he has come to believe over the past year, it certainly helps to explain a lot of his behavior towards me. And it certainly adds to the grief of a difficult season.”
A July 18 article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said both Abram and his brother Aaron are concerned with their father’s changing narrative. Abram said that his father never disclosed to the public that the morning his wife disappeared he had found a vague note of affection, apology and regret apparently written by Lynn. Kerry Messer originally maintained that his wife had vanished without a clue.
They also are upset by their father’s romantic relationship with a family friend whom Lynn Messer had said before her disappearance that if anything ever happened to her she hoped her husband would remarry.
“I know that my father loved my mother, I know that he loved her very much, and I do not believe that my father would go running off to another woman eight weeks after my mother disappears, if he truly, truly did not know whether or not she was dead or alive,” Abram Messer told KMOX.
Kerry Messer has posted regularly on a Facebook page titled Find Lynn Messer launched originally to help organize volunteers to search the family’s 250-acre farm and surrounding areas in the days immediately following her disappearance.
On Aug. 6, 2014, Kerry Messer wrote a post saying “we don’t have a single clue what has happened” but speculating that she might have reacted badly to new pain pills prescribed by her doctor and wandered off the property in a disoriented state and couldn’t find her way back home.
“We have gone over every possible idea imaginable with law enforcement and absolutely nothing else makes a lick of sense,” he posted Nov. 23, 2014. “I am thoroughly convicted and confident that she was not in her ‘right mind’ and it was only her body that opened the door and stepped out. However, anyone could have picked her up off the road. From there we are only limited by the imagination.”
Last July Messer listed frustrations about “misinformation,” including “reports of depression, which we still cannot figure out where it came from” along with the stress of the “husband” being viewed as a prime suspect in her disappearance.
On Mother’s Day in 2016 Kerry Messer wrote a long post lamenting “rumors about yourself that are unfounded and heartbreaking.”
“Here is a real life example,” he wrote. “A dear friend of ours died after courageously battling cancer for years. She was close to many people and loved by everyone. Her life’s story is compelling and inspiring. Now you are walking into the church for the funeral service already despondent over your own wife’s disappearance. Then one of the first people you see is another close family friend who is deeply hurt over your loss and now the loss of this second dear one.
“The two of you hug (as is a common greeting at a funeral). You speak for a brief moment, but the funeral is just about to begin. Most folks are already seated and the two of you are making your way to the door of the somber sanctuary. Your friend who is emotionally hurting, and you, living in a swirl of grief on every level, step into the well-attended yet hushed sanctuary together and all eyes are on you. Your friend instinctively takes your hand. She is struggling to fight back tears and you so don’t want to see anyone in such hurt.
“So there you are, walking into your own home church with an emotionally upset friend, holding hands. So you deliberately select a seat in the first few front pews in order to sit next to your mother’s best friend. Yet a few days later you are told of a rumor that in the midst of your own struggles, ‘you took a date to the funeral?’”
The May 8 posting closed with a “confession” about one item he hadn’t previously talked about on Facebook, discussions he and his wife had about what they would do if anything were to happen to the other spouse.
“Ma had a plan that we discussed from time to time that she would build a farrowing house and go into a specialty hog business for income,” he wrote. “We planned out the proper site and discussed the basic details of her plan many times over the years. But I had no plan. I could not think how to deal with such a dreary possibility despite Ma’s repeated encouragements for me to do so.
“All I could think of was how an older husband, who does the more dangerous things on the farm, drives manifold more miles and hours across the state, and all the other reasons Ma needed such a plan, not I. All I could think about was how I could not live without my Bride without becoming very self-destructive.”
On May 4 the Missouri Times quoted Messer describing his relationship with his new love interest as “not a sexual relationship” but rather an emotional bond developed as she helped him through the grieving process. He said if Lynn returns home he will still be her husband, and both he and his girlfriend understand that.
The article quoted unnamed sources saying that contrary to Kerry’s assertions, his wife was not receiving mental health treatment. Lynn Messer was prescribed anti-anxiety medicine and struggled with anxiety for several years.
“Lynn struggled with a lot of issues,” Kerry Messer told the newspaper, adding the biggest was three weeks before her disappearance being told that pain from hip replacement surgery wasn’t going away and she would be looking at pain management for the next 20 years.
Recently Kerry Messer is theorizing that his wife may have walked eight or nine miles to the Mississippi River and taken her own life. He says she often took long walks at night, while their sons say they doubt she would be up to such a trek.
Kerry described his estrangement within his family as a “misunderstanding,” telling the Post-Dispatch he sees nothing unusual about changing his mind over time to believe her disappearance may have been a suicide and that he overlooked signs of depression.
Messer discussed the recent media coverage on Facebook July 10, acknowledging “this is where we are at as a family.” Some of the accusations, he said, were “ugly and exceedingly hurtful due to so many falsehoods.”
Before launching the Missouri Family Network after visiting the state capitol with a delegation from his church, Messer worked with Roger Moran at Missouri Baptist Laymen’s Association, a conservative group opposed to “theological and social liberalism inherent within the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the growing influence of the CBF within the Missouri Baptist Convention.”