A candlelight vigil was held last month in Ste. Genevieve marking the fifth anniversary of the disappearance of 52-year-old Lynn Messer from her Bloomsdale home.
Messer, who was a member of the First Baptist Church of Festus-Crystal City, went missing on July 8, 2014, and her remains were found in November 2016 at the southern edge of the family’s 260-acre farm.
No charges have been filed in the case, but an investigation is ongoing, officials say.
Ste. Genevieve County Prosecutor Wayne Williams, who took office in January, said his office is carefully reviewing evidence collected during the initial investigation.
“I am reviewing evidence to see if there’s anything that could be filed,” Williams said. “If I find there is probable cause, I’ll file charges. If there is no probable cause, it will remain open and the investigation will continue.”
Williams said it may take several more months before he can arrive at a decision whether to file.
“We have to be very careful,” he said. “Because, if we file charges and it goes to a jury trial and we lose, double jeopardy forever bars us from bringing any charges again. On the other hand, there is no statute of limitations on a homicide.
“So it is worth it to take the time and look at everything. I expect, though, I’ll be able to make the decision by the end of this year.”
Shortly after Messer was reported missing in the early hours of July 8, 2014, the Ste. Genevieve Sheriff’s Office sent alerts to local law enforcement agencies with her description and details of her disappearance. Sources also reported that she left behind her cell phone, house keys and purse. A lengthy search of the area by law enforcement and volunteers turned up nothing.
In November 2016, skeletal remains were discovered in a heavily wooded area on the south end of the Messer farm, an area that had been searched at the time Messer disappeared. Days later, the Ste. Genevieve Sheriff’s Office confirmed the remains were those of Messer.
About 60 people attended the July 8 candlelight vigil, held outside the Ste. Genevieve County Prosecutor’s Office. The hour-long event featured Bible readings, prayers and music. Messer’s sons, Aaron and Abram, shared memories of their mother and led the crowd in song and prayer. The vigil ended with the sons lighting candles in Messer’s memory, as Mark Schultz played the song, “Remember Me.”