Number of people per minute who experience intimate partner violence in the U.S.: 24 Number of workplace violence incidents in
Shanann Watts’ husband, Chris Watts, confessed to killing Shanann and their two daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3, as part
Lynn Messer disappeared July 8, 2014. We now know that Lynn has been deceased the entire time and I have
Life is hard, and life married to an angry, controlling spouse seems impossible. Without realizing it you withhold hope as
FYI: I’ve shortened the articles for quick readability. 2-3 minutes!
Abuse comes in many forms and knows no boundaries. 1 in 4 women will experience domestic abuse during
The last time I wrote I gave you my observations on the Shanann Watts case; specifically my thoughts on the
I think these were likely heinous, violent, selfish, dark acts of murder from a cold, calculating, evil, angry, and controlling man who looked normal, nice, caring, and nurturing to those watching on the outside.
I’m sure you’ve seen it all over the headlines: Husband kills pregnant wife and their two little girls.
I’m involved in an online community of domestic abuse advocates so when this story broke I immediately took interest. You know me…my first thought was that the husband is statistically most likely involved. I immediately watched the interview done by a local Denver, CO news station.
Here were some of the red flags about Chris Watts that caught my attention:
The detachment in one of his statements when he referred to his family as: “everybody”, “anybody”…it was off. His demeanor during his interview was non-emotional about his family and detached from the gravity of them being gone…just words; which seemed empty to me. He appeared to be smiling during some of it; almost giddy with underlying excitement…which to me speaks the age-old adage that he possibly believed he’s so special and smart that no one would ever catch him at what he did. His grin told the story of how proud he was of his deception. He exuded arrogance and assumed people would believe him.
With word spinners you have to pay attention to the grains of truth woven throughout the lies… “It was like I walked into a ghost house.” Hmm, could this be because he killed them and was haunted by what he did?
He talks about himself…his feelings, his needs, and his thoughts. He lacked the emotions that go with trauma and fear, and instead smiled through most of the multiple interviews.
He mentioned the empty house but showed no emotion about the loneliness or fear of why the house was empty.
“When I got home yesterday it was like a ghost town…it’s like a nightmare that I just can’t wake up from.” Why is he speaking of a nightmare so early in the investigation of which he says he knows nothing and has no inclination of what happened or where they are? After all, the possibility exists that they are with a friend or family member? What’s so nightmarish about that?
“I had every light in the house on.” Perhaps because he couldn’t live with what had taken place during the night?
I noticed how tightly he had his arms crossed in front of him as if to say I am bottled up, I’m lying, and I am not telling what I know.
He was shaking his head no, while stating he wanted his family to return.
When Chris Watts stayed with friends Monday night he referred to his wife in the past tense. They notified police that they didn’t think Chris was doing enough to actively look for his family.
His body language, words, emotions and actions didn’t add up to innocent.
Chris Watts arrested for the murder of his wife and daughters
When news broke that Chris Watts had been arrested for the murder of his wife and children, people were asking, “what made him snap?” The public and the media seem shocked that this nice looking, well-spoken man could be responsible for murders while smiling at the camera and stating, “Shanann, Bella, Celeste, if you’re out there, just come back. If somebody has her, just bring her back. I need to see everybody; I need to see everybody again. This house is not complete without anybody here.”
I wonder how the police obtained a confession from him. Perhaps they had overwhelming evidence from the crime scenes.
A next door neighbor said Chris Watts was a normal helpful neighbor, “He would reach out and help anyone who needed help with anything.”
A reporter asked, “How a man who appeared to be such an adoring husband and father could do this?”
If you’ve read my blog for long you know this is a major issue I’ve tried to address. I also addressed it when I spoke in Dallas at the SBC: For Such a Time as This Rally.
These types of men “are grand actors and magnificent manipulators. They may be sitting next to us in worship, Sunday school, or small group. They can be pastors, Sunday school teachers, and our best friend, charming, smart, and biblically brilliant. They can be high functioning in their job, helpful in our time of need, and financially generous if hardship strikes us; all while destroying the wife and/or children at home.”
What’s worse is that often times the women don’t realize they are being abused. How can this happen? you may ask.
The victim may be confused about what is wrong, or who is in the wrong in the relationship. For me, and for other countless women, we believed our spouse’s lie that everything wrong in the relationship or home was our fault. Chris and Shanann hadn’t been married many years. It’s possible this may have been her experience…or maybe she was waking up to the idea that something was wrong in her marriage.
Here is an excerpt from a journal of an abused wife in the first years of marriage. She believed all the anger and control problems her husband had were going to get better as he became accustomed to being married.
“Thank you, Heavenly Father, for a godly husband who loves me. He’s a good daddy and an excellent provider. Please help him adjust to married life quickly, and help me to be the wife he needs and wants.”
In the above case; years would prove that she wasn’t the problem and that no matter how wonderful a wife and mother she was, it wouldn’t meet with his approval or kindness, or satisfy his need for power over her and control of her.
Other possibilities: 1) You can live with a person and not know if they suffer from mental illness or a personality disorder. 2) The wife is usually the last person to find out about an affair. 3) Maybe Shanann had decided to leave her husband.
Whatever the case; make no mistake, Shanann and her daughters did nothing wrong to provoke anyone to murder them. I don’t believe this was a snap decision, but likely numerous issues building up over time. This is why I recommend the free MOSAIC threat assessment. What is MOSAIC? A combination of factors that are associated with escalated risk and danger requires that you know what questions to ask, and then know how to consider all your answers in a way that enhances insight. The MOSAIC method works by breaking a situation down to its elements, factor-by-factor, and then seeing what picture emerges when the pieces of the puzzle are put together.
As many women have learned; it’s difficult to leave an angry and controlling man…sometimes impossible.
I think it’s safe to assume that Shanann confided in a friend that something was deeply and fearfully wrong with her husband. Her friend Nickole Utoft, who dropped Shanann off at home around 2 AM after a business trip, tried making contact early that morning by text, phone, and going to the house. When Nickole couldn’t make contact with her friend she called the police and asked for a welfare check that afternoon. When Nicole discovered Shanann’s purse, phone, and keys in the house she filed missing person’s reports. Nickole knew something!
I’m grateful Chris Watts confessed early and disclosed where he placed the bodies. When a woman ‘disappears’ it’s usually at the hand of her significant other. When children are killed it’s usually at the hands of a parent or guardian.
- 3 women are murdered every day by a current or former male partner in the U.S.
- The number of American troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2012 was 6,488. The number of American women who were murdered by current or ex male partners during that time was 11,766. That’s nearly double the amount of casualties lost during war.
- Annually about 450 children are intentionally murdered by a parent.
- More than three decades of FBI homicide data shows patterns stand out when parents kill their children: Three out of four child victims are younger than 5. In 56% of all cases, fathers are the killers. In murders with multiple victims, fathers are the culprit 70% of the time.
Next time I will address lessons I learned about domestic abuse.
If you question the possibility of being in danger, please go to MOSAIC and take the free threat assessment test.
Please sign this petition to encourage the SBC to take action against abuse now. The story of @girlnamedanne is one
Tomorrow, July 8, marks the 4 year anniversary of the reporting of Lynn Messer as a missing person.
Upon her disappearance, the family farm where Lynn lived with her husband was mapped with grids and searched by rescue and recovery teams, along with trained search and rescue dogs. Searching was done by air, foot, and all-terrain vehicles; by day and by night.
Rescue dogs are trained in locating human remains by tracking, trailing, and air scenting. This should have been an easy job in the outdoor air of the extreme summer heat during July and August.
2 1/2 years ago, November 1, 2016, Lynn’s remains were found on the farm; recovered from the direction of the scent found that first morning in 2014. The problem was that Kerry, Lynn’s husband, had the cows moved from one pasture to another that first morning, July 8, 2014, possibly contaminating evidence of her scent. The pasture where he had the cows moved was located between the house and the field where Lynn’s remains were discovered. Rotating cows from pasture to pasture, according to Lynn’s sons, was always Lynn’s responsibility. Lynn’s son Abram told law enforcement that his father was adamant the cows had to be moved that morning; the morning Lynn had been missing since the middle of the night, and her husband said he had been out looking for her. In my first interview with Abram he admitted that in hind sight, moving the cows for his dad is the one thing he wishes he had not done.
Lynn was considered missing until November 1, 2016. We’ve been told by law enforcement, after a coroner’s autopsy, that Lynn had been deceased the entire time, since July 8, 2014.
I am a survivor of domestic abuse and I minister to and advocate for women in, or leaving, destructive marriages. When I heard Lynn’s story I thought I recognized similarities to life experiences I’ve lived. I think, after talking to Lynn’s family and friends, that she possibly lived in a destructive marriage, and didn’t survive to tell her story. This is why I advocate for her…waiting for answers, keeping her story alive, and hoping for justice for Lynn.
Lynn’s husband, Kerry Messer, has not been cleared in the investigation surrounding Lynn’s death. Kerry is a Missouri state lobbyist who represents family, homeschooling, right-to-life, gun rights/safety, and Christian/Biblical values.
Weeks after Lynn was reported missing law enforcement found out that Lynn’s husband Kerry was involved with another woman. Spring Thomas, according to law enforcement, admitted to being in a relationship with Kerry at least 8 weeks after Lynn went missing. Abram, one of Lynn’s sons has messages from Spring that dates the time to at least 6 weeks after Lynn went missing, but he thinks the romantic relationship predated his mom’s death. He has based this upon the previous years of watching his father interact with Spring. In fact, before Abram knew anything about Kerry’s relationship with Spring, Abram says he expressed concern to his father about his inappropriate behavior around Spring in the past as well as their behavior around each other when Spring showed up for organized searches to help look for Lynn, after Lynn’s disappearance, on the family farm.
Below is a copy of Lynn’s Messer’s death certificate which was issued June 20, 2018. In other words; recently. I want people to understand and believe that this case is not over.
I find this hopeful. The state could have listed the cause of death as ‘unknown’. They didn’t.
Instead it says, ‘MANNER: PENDING INVESTIGATION’
‘UNDETERMINED AT THIS TIME’
The death certificate does not say ‘Could Not Be Determined’.
This case is not closed.
I think answers are out there.
I continue to pray for #JusticeForLynn.
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7/22/2018 UPDATE: So…this is happening, a wedding, August 4, 2018.
The question remains: Did the church allowing this ceremony talk to Lynn’s sons, Lynn’s friends, or to the police? I know they didn’t talk to Abram.
*I found out today that the testimony against your spouse provision in the law doesn’t apply to knowledge you had before the wedding. So for those of us who wondered if marriage would keep them from testifying about each other, should an arrest happen; it doesn’t apply.
Abram Messer received a voicemail message from his dad on Wednesday. Kerry told Abram he was praying about when the Lord would allow him and Spring to get married, that they were planning a wedding, he would like his sons and their families to attend, and that he would wait for a reply from Abram.
Thursday, people (not Lynn’s sons) began receiving wedding invitations by mail. Friends and family were concerned and rightfully began contacting each other. I’ve received 2 copies from concerned readers.
The reason I’m posting this invitation is to validate Abram and Elizabeth. Church family, friends, some in the homeschooling community, and a few relatives have believed Kerry when he told them that he and Spring were nothing more than friends. I personally had people tell me law enforcement, Abram, and Elizabeth were all lying to me about this so-called relationship and that it was immensely hurtful to Kerry and Spring to have people believing such nonsense. I was also told newspapers lied about the relationship.
I long for the day when churches listen, believe, and act upon the woman’s story and not the husband’s denial. I’m saddened and frustrated that a church is celebrating and performing this wedding before Lynn’s cause of death is released.
After the television airing of American Gothic: Finding Lynn Messer on Investigation Discovery, Lynn’s story became an international public interest. I believe it has aired at least 6-8 times, and in different countries around the globe. I can tell because every time it airs my blog stats shoot higher than usual for my articles about Lynn.
Thank you for your continued and interest and prayers.
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The format of this site has changed. You’ll find many of the past articles I’ve written about Lynn Messer under the link: Lynn Messer case history. Articles are listed by title and dated from recent to earliest. Comments are now easier to find and post at the end of each article.
You may read more about inconsistencies in the case here.
Spring Thomas here…
Kerry Messer is a public figure/state lobbyist who fund raises from private citizens in the state of Missouri; making this a public interest case. *See disclaimer in margin.
This is great news! We all enjoy good stories that begin with “Once upon a time” and end with “happily
Originally posted on Flourishing Faith:
The Lord is my Light, setting right my confusion. He makes me understand what is right and what is wrong. He leads me to uncover the gas-lighting of my abuser. He restores my dignity. He leads me in an understanding of holiness for the sake of His glory. Yes, though I walk through the dangers of laying aside my walls, coping mechanisms, and survival skills that brought me comfort and aided my survival, I will not fear trusting the Lord; for God is trustworthy and perfect in all His ways. Your Spirit and your Book, they reassure me. You have prepared the way of healing before me in the presence of my abuser; You anoint my mind with truth, my healing overflows! Surely truth and dignity shall fill me all the days of my life and I shall sit at the feet of my Redeemer forever!
The overarching reason for speaking at the For Such A Time As This Rally was to address the often secondary
Need resources for your church or organization regarding domestic abuse response? Are you aware there are many free resources on
“(W)e acknowledge that spousal abuse dishonors the marriage covenant and fundamentally blasphemes the relationship between Christ and the church.” The