FESTUS, Mo. – A source who had direct contact with Lynn Messer and remained close to the 22-month long investigation into the disappearance of the wife of decades-long conservative lobbyist Kerry Messer is raising questions about her disappearance.
Since July 8, 2014, when Lynn disappeared, Messer has experienced dramatic weight loss and been confronted with countless rumors.
“I’ve been accused of everything in the book. I’ve been accused of bailing my wife up in a bailer, I’ve been accused of burying her, I’ve been accused of feeding her to hogs – we don’t even own any hogs,” Messer said. “It’s taken me a long time dealing and being able to talk about some of that stuff. There are naysayers who continue to throw accusations out about people who disagree with my politics or positions on issues. People who know zero about Lynn and me.”
Just weeks ago, while Messer roamed the building representing his clients, some publications were calling lawmakers asking if Messer had been arrested.
Despite false accusations and bad tips, questions have arisen regarding the investigation. Additionally, in going through the grieving process, Messer has found companionship in a family friend named Spring Thomas. It has been further revealed from those close to Lynn Messer that she was prescribed anti-anxiety medication and struggled with anxiety in recent years, despite investigation-long claims from Kerry Messer that Lynn was not receiving mental health treatment. Messer has also shared Lynn left a note before she left.
“If anything happens to me, I want him to marry Spring Thomas,” Lynn Messer reportedly told someone the day before she went missing.
“I found out, 11 months after Lynn disappeared, I found out that the people who knew, the law enforcement who knew, never told me that less than 12 hours from Lynn’s disappearance, she pulled someone aside and told them that if anything were to happen to her, I was supposed to marry this lady,” Messer said. “So, while she did disappear, it really, on top of all the other emotional toil and upset and everything, stuck in my mind. And that resulted in our starting of conversations. [Spring] was in a tailspin over it, because she knew nothing of it beforehand. Anyway, we weren’t talking marriage, but I was talking with her, because that was stuck in my head.”
Messer said Lynn had mentioned Spring before in marital conversations.
“Several years ago, many, many years ago, Lynn and I had ongoing conversations, because in a married couple, eventually one is going to die. After we processed that, her plan, because we don’t have a real job, I’m a full time volunteer lobbyist, I live off donations. It’s not like we’ve got a big, hearty pension plan of some sort, so Lynn’s plans were if something were to happen to me, she would build her a 50-sow farrowing house and go into the hog business so she wouldn’t have to get a Walmart greeter job. She could stay on the farm and make enough income to get by and I never could figure out what I would do. After several years of having that destroying conversation, she’s the one that initiated the idea that, if anything were to ever happen to her, for me to marry. We talked that through. Through talking through that, we very pragmatically gave each other permission to be remarried.
“The reality is, a few years ago, Lynn actually named this lady and said that’s who I should marry.”
However, the source close to the investigation questions Messer’s relationship.
“It started, that we can confirm, in the fall of 2014,” said the source. “I know that he loved Lynn. How can he be in what he has admitted is a romantic relationship with another woman if he truly has no idea if she could walk through that door any minute?
“He’s been totally misrepresenting his entire relationship from the get go,” said the source. “Spring has not been cooperating with the investigation. If you have nothing to hide, why aren’t you cooperating?”
Messer admits that law enforcement has investigated not only himself, but also Thomas, and is fully aware of the relationship.
“I’ve spoken to the grandparents, the grandchildren, the siblings, the cousins, the uncles, the aunts, the neighborhood friends, the childhood friends, tons and tons of wives [of missing people], but in 22 months, I’ve never connected with a single husband because what law enforcement does to husbands,” Messer said. “Law enforcement knows all about Spring Thomas. They’ve investigated her, they’ve investigated us. I’ve had 5 computers that have gone through law enforcement for their forensic exams and everything. They have had our cell phones. They don’t know what they don’t know.
“[Law enforcement] will never talk to me, but they know they don’t have any kind of evidence of any kind of affair.
“Lynn struggled with a lot of issues. The biggest one was would be 20 days prior to her disappearance, she found out that her hip replacement surgery had not removed the pain and all the plans that she was making for what her life was going to be like for the next 20 years went out the window and she was very, very upset about that. Tremendously upset. Personally, at this point, looking back, I really believe that had a lot more to do with this than anything else.”
Messer said he remains loyal to Lynn Messer, and that Thomas has provided companionship through the last months.
“I’m married, I love my wife,” said Messer. “Spring understands that. It’s just what it is. She’s very understanding of that, she understands the grieving process. She’s helped me work through a lot of the grieving process. She’s helped me with the weight loss. She’s helped me on a personal level with just dealing with life. I have to admit that there are affections that have developed between us.”
Messer said since the relationship developed over the past year, he’s confided in over 200 people regarding a new relationship, trying to find the “wisdom” in the situation.
“It’s not an inappropriate relationship. I’m married to Lynn and I’m still faithful to Lynn. There’s not a sexual relationship between me and anyone else, there never has been. That’s nothing I can prove. That’s why when you’re in a station in life there everything is falling apart and you’re trying to put your life back together again, you’re trying to figure life out and that never looks like what you thought it would look like. I live in a glass house.
“So I started a long time ago talking to people, asking if I’m doing the wrong thing by having dinner with Spring and us having these conversations and the fact that my affections are developing. The vast majority of folks that I’ve spoken with have just shared their cautions. There’s a half dozen or so that say ‘oh, no, you shouldn’t do this.’ I’m trying to discern where is the wisdom. I’m trying to talk to people and that’s why I talk to people. I’ve talked to them all and the reason you’ve heard rumors is, as I’ve talked to people, I’ve asked them for not confidentiality, only discretion. I want to be open and transparent, but this is a part of my life and I don’t know how to handle it. I don’t know what to do with that.”
The investigation and relationship have both been ongoing struggles, said Messer.
“That’s the way it is, that’s where I’m at. If Lynn turns up, she’s still my wife. Spring and I both know that. Spring knows that I’m in love with Lynn. That’s hard for you to understand, I know. I can’t wrap my head around any of this either.”
New theory and a note
Messer has had issues with the investigation, believing it has been misled on a couple fronts.
“The two big issues that were very frustrating was one, reading that in the media when it wasn’t accurate and two, her having a so-called ‘broken foot’. I kept telling people that ‘she does not have a broken foot, she a cracked pinkie toe.’ ‘She walks with a small limp with her tennis shoes.’ On top of that, ‘she’s on pain meds.’ She had a walking boot, but she wore it leading steers in a show ring and practicing with steers, because that’s how she got it broken, cracked, in the first place was when a one thousand pound steer stepped on her foot. She didn’t want that repeated. When she worked with preschool children in church, these kids just crawl all over you, so she wore it that walking boot to try to keep them from stepping on her sore foot. Other than that, she walked just fine – with a limp. It didn’t slow her down.
“Law enforcement never went beyond the immediate farm and immediate areas around the farm. Which was very, very frustrating for us, for me, because they were talking about the suicide side of this. We were trying to think if that was part of it also. The Mississippi River is eight or nine miles away. Lynn is known to walk those kinds of distances regularly, even in the middle of the night. She would walk out on the road. She would take several mile walks in the middle of the night when she couldn’t sleep. That was not unusual for her. The fact that they never went to the river has always been a frustration. I don’t mean to criticize law enforcement, it’s just that they fixated on this so-called broken foot.”
The shortest path on foot from the Messer property to the river is just over nine miles and would take the average person just over three hours to walk it.
Sources close to the family agree that it would have been normal for Lynn Messer to take such a long walk, but question why Messer was panicked the next morning if it were normal for her to take such a long walk at night.
“Lynn left a nondescript note that doesn’t say what she was doing, but she did leave an apology note that caused me to panic that night,” Messer said. “That’s why I was focused on getting law enforcement involved so quickly. Law enforcement, on the second day, asked me not to talk about it, so I never talked about it. It was ten months later that I found out that they didn’t want me to talk about the note was because they thought I wrote the note to cover up a murder. So I’ve been through the interrogations, it’s like they’ve done everything but waterboard me. It’s amazing what they do to husbands.”
It was revealed to the Missouri Times that Lynn Messer had and was taking diazepam, a prescription anti-anxiety medication. Lynn Messer talked to women at her church about her long term anxiety.
“Then we have these questions of depression,” Messer said. “Lynn has had the same thing that many, many people do where their medical doctor prescribes an anti-anxiety medication. It’s not anti-depression medication. It’s totally different things and she’s never seen a mental health professional in her life. Would she have been diagnosed as clinically depressed? I think there is a time when most all of us, at some point could possibly be diagnosed. It’s such a fuzzy thing. There’s never been such a diagnosis, there’s never been any evidence. To me, it’s misleading to have a big focus on someone being ‘depressed’ when there is no evidence that says there is a diagnosis of being depressed, she’d never been treated for depression in a clinical sense. That’s where the discrepancy comes from. That’s a misleading term.”
However, the source continues to question the relationship, how it was revealed, and what it means to a woman who is still considered “missing.”
“What else is being hid that we don’t know about?”
Rachael Herndon was the editor at The Missouri Times and also produced This Week in Missouri Politics, published Missouri Times Magazine, and co-hosted the #MoLeg podcast. She joined The Missouri Times in 2014, returning to political reporting after working as a campaign and legislative staffer.
Rachael studied at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children.