Missouri Hunters Urged to Support Hurting Families
With the start of the main firearms deer season in Missouri, Support the Hurting (a newly formed non-profit organization) is urging hunters, farmers, and other outdoor enthusiasts to join as volunteer partners with law enforcement and the grieving loved ones of missing persons. Support the Hurting believes it can raise awareness among the outdoors community by changing the way people explore and enjoy the landscape.
Saturday, November 15, is opening day for the fall firearms deer season in which upwards to a half million or more Missouri deer hunters will be in normally unoccupied woodlands throughout the State. While bow season and the Youth Hunt weekend has already seen many hunters, starting tomorrow a significant surge of hunters will become the largest search party to ever inter the woods.
Law enforcement and the husband of 52-year-old Lynn Messer, who disappeared on the night of July 7, are urging Missouri hunters to become part of their search efforts. Missouri hunters are being asked to join the effort by becoming volunteer searchers who will commit to awareness and vigilance, reporting anything that might help law enforcement find Lynn Messer or other missing persons.
The Missouri Department of Conservation is interested to see how this effort will impact and encourage hunters on how to identify potential items of interest and report them to law enforcement authorities to aid in the recovery of Lynn Messer, or any other missing persons.
Kerry Messer, husband of Lynn Messer and host of the “Find Lynn Messer” Facebook page said, “To our knowledge there has never been a focused effort to inform hunters on how to identify and report findings that could possibly be beneficial to law enforcement and hurting families. We are asking the hunters of Missouri to expand their stewardship of our conservation programs to include this additional voluntary effort for the many hurting families and loved ones who are still searching for missing loved ones.”
On the night of July 7, Lynn Messer disappeared from her rural home in Ste. Genevieve County. At 4:00 am the next morning her husband, Kerry Messer, woke up to the sounds of thunder and lightning only to discover that his wife was missing. As his search began that morning, today it has been over 4 months and he is still searching. Anyone with any information is encouraged to call the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s special hotline at 573-883-5820 ext. 27463.
“We are urging deer hunters across Missouri to become part of our extended search team,” Messer said. “If a hunter comes across any item that might help law enforcement, we are asking them to take a photo and record a GPS ping or other location documentation.
“We want hunters to know that no one should touch or move potential evidence items. This is why it is so important to take photos and record locations for local law enforcement. They need to be the ones who determine if such items are important to any case.”
The new educational effort now spearheaded by Mr. Messer hopes to impact all farmers, hunters, fishermen, and other outdoors enthusiasts. “We want to educate and encourage people to commit themselves and pledge to become stewards of anything they find that is out of the ordinary. By treating such items as potential evidence needed by law enforcement in their investigations, they may in fact redirect or even help solve cases of missing persons. Through Support the Hurting we hope to change the way people look at their environment, and expand the purposes of hunters and other outdoors adventurers as we look into the future.”
The Messer family recognizes the dangers and safety concerns of asking searchers to continue their efforts in the same woodlands and forests where hunters may be unaware of their presence. “We also are very aware that we could cause conflicts with hunters and land owners,” Messer said. “Our desire is to respect private properties and the people who use those lands.”
Hunters are encouraged on the other hand to be on the lookout for newer and “out of place” articles such as clothing, jewelry or prescription eyeglasses rather than items that would clearly not be connected to any investigation. Hunter discretion is encouraged but law enforcement need all the leads they can get.
Massive search efforts have engaged numerous law enforcement resources and agencies. Mr. Messer has an extensive network of family and friends assisting in the search and is seeking media attention to the effort to find his missing wife.
As a prominent pro-family lobbyist well known not only for his past 30 years of work at the State Capitol, Mr. Messer is also recognized for his ministry among the broad spectrum of public officials, staff and government relations professionals in Jefferson City. As a result, support and assistance has come from all corners of the State. But the whereabouts of Lynn Messer remains a mystery.
The “Find Lynn Messer” Facebook community has helped to launch this new initiative to connect with Missouri hunters as the fall deer and turkey seasons add a new dynamic to the search for Lynn. And Messer’s political connections are bearing fruit as he builds an advisory board containing Missouri’s congressional delegation as well as retired law enforcement.
“With months of searching producing no clues, we are turning to the hunters themselves,” Messer said. “We are reaching out to all hunters, deer, turkey, bow, rifle and everyone who will be spending time outdoors this fall. We want to ask that the hundreds of thousands of hunters who go into the woods this year, please be aware that you could see some evidence of a missing person that needs to be reported.”
Lynn Messer is not the only unsolved missing person. There are many unsolved missing persons with family and friends living the nightmare and anguish of “not knowing.” Hunters are asked to please keep an eye out for anything unusual that could be a clue for any of these unsolved cases.
A pair of prescription eyeglasses, a shoe or other article of clothing that appears to be relatively new to the forest floor. These are the types of items that need to be recorded and reported to local authorities.
If a hunter were to discover something, anything out of the ordinary, we ask that they do not move it. It is very important to document such items and send that information to local law enforcement. Most hunters carry cell phones that can take pictures. More and more hunters carry GPS systems that can “ping” a location. These are the tools that can become invaluable to law enforcement and the hurting families of missing loved ones.
For more information contact: Kerry Messer at 573-483-2007 (land line), or 314-971-2477 (cell).