Mother of Four Vanishes, Niece Receives Cryptic Text

PHOTO: Tonya Faye LynnCourtesy Winder Police Department
Mother of four Tonya Faye Lynn, 38, went missing July 27, 2011 -- her body was found two days later in a well.

Police are searching for a missing Winder, Ga., mother of four who left behind two clues: her locked car, and a cryptic text sent to a relative.

Tonya Faye Lynn, 38, had reportedly fought with her husband Tuesday night, Winder police spokesman Chris Cooper told, and they slept in different beds.

Her husband, Jim Lynn, told police that when he woke up Wednesday morning he assumed his wife had already left for work at Athens Regional Medical Center. The health center's spokesman Mike Pilcher declined to comment.

Tonya Lynn's niece, Christa Royster, reported her aunt missing around noon on Wednesday. Early that morning she had received a text message from Tonya Lynn's phone.

"The message basically said, 'take care of my kids and I love you,'" Cooper told

When the niece tried to call back, Cooper said, she couldn't get through.

She called Tonya Lynn's husband, police said, who told her he didn't know where she was. On Tuesday three of the couple's four children spent the night elsewhere.

According to Tonya Lynn's father, Earl Royster, his 14-year-old grandson stayed at a neighbor's home, his other grandson, 13, stayed with an uncle, and his 11-year-old granddaughter was with her aunt. Tonya Lynn's 7-year-old was the only child at her home.

While driving Lynn's daughter to school, Christa Royster noticed Tonya Lynn's car -- a white Chevy Tahoe -- parked at a local library.

The car was locked and nothing was out of place, police said. Cooper said nothing in their investigation so far points to any suspects.

On Tonya Lynn's Facebook page, last updated in December 2010, under "activities and interests" she posted "I Love Spending Time With My Family."

Lynn's Troubled Marriage

In May, Jim Lynn was arrested by Winder police and charged with battery, Officer Cooper said. In addition, Tonya Lynn had contacted police about her husband's temporary protective order violations.

Her father Earl Royster, 72, who lives in Auburn, Ga., told the couple had filed for divorce in June. Tonya Lynn stayed with her sister-in-law, but eventually took her husband back, he said.

Royster described Jim Lynn as controlling, "crazy about money" and suspicious of his daughter's whereabouts.

Monday was the last time Royster spoke to his daughter, but he says his 14-year-old grandson had seen her in the house at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday when he returned home to get some clothes before spending the night at a friend's house.

When Tonya Lynn told her husband she was leaving him, Royster said, Jim Lynn allegedly threw their mattress on the floor while she was sitting on it, and tossed her clothes outside.

Jim Lynn wasn't immediately available for comment.

Anyone with information is being asked to contact Winder police at 770-867-2156.