Friends and family shed light on woman who died in McDonald County


Earlier this week, deputies with the McDonald County Sheriff’s Office were called to a home in Anderson, Missouri.

A 911 call informed them that Lynda Beth Meekins was out of control, and deputies at the scene report finding Meekins wielding a knife and threatening to burn down the home.

“I don’t believe the information came out during the dispatch time that there was any mental health or issues going on. It was mainly just the facts of what was going on,” said Sheriff Michael Hall.

Lynda’s friend and daughter contacted KOAM to share some insight into what happened.

“She was terrified. She thought she was seeing demons. It was a horrible event for her and I talked to her up until literally minutes before she walked out that door,” said Lynda’s friend, Kathryn Louks.

They don’t blame the deputies and want to let people know that Lynda was suffering from severe mental illness.

“She did have extreme mental issues from about the age of 5. She wasn’t diagnosed until she was in her 30s with schizophrenia. She was bipolar manic depressive with very serious PTSD,” said Louks.

But they also want to make it clear that mental illness didn’t define the woman they love.

“She was definitely full of light. She was spontaneous. She was always trying to do something good for the other person,” said Lynda’s daughter, Sabrina Owsley.

“She was a person. She was a mother and a grandmother and a person who used to run down the street in the T-Bone district putting hundred dollar bills in homeless people’s sleeping bags in the middle of the night,” said Louks.

The McDonald County Sheriff says his team gets its mental health training from local experts.

“We have a community mental health liaison through Freeman and she does a great job. So did her predecessor. They’ve helped us with classes yearly, with different things from deescalation to talking about different types of mental illness,” said Sheriff Hall.

He also says it’s effective and would like to see his team receive more of it.