Authorities from Edgecombe County, North Carolina, searching for Diana Alejandra Keel who has been missing from Nash County for the last five days, found a body Tuesday which they believe could be hers.
According to Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone, the decomposed body belongs to a Hispanic female who appears to have been dead for five days. It matches the description of 38-year-old Keel, who has been missing from Nashville. Officials however, haven’t confirmed that the body is Keel’s.
She was reported missing by her husband, Lynn Keel, on Friday. An autopsy will be held to reveal the cause of death and confirm the identity of the person. Stone believes some foul play is involved in the case. The autopsy results are expected Wednesday.
The decomposed body was discovered by a state transportation worker along the Pokes Hole Road in a patch of woods about four miles from Legget around noon Tuesday. Keel’s daughter Laura had posted an appeal on social media and reported that her mother was missing between March 7 and March 9.
Keel was last seen by her husband who told the police that she had “gone out with some acquaintances.” Deputies from Nash County went to Keel’s house Saturday after Lynn told them he last saw her Friday. Lynn was taken in for questioning by the police Tuesday and was named a “person of interest in the case,” Stone said during a press conference. He was allowed to go home later in the day.
Keel worked as an emergency room nurse and had not reported to work in the last few days. She rarely missed work and reportedly spoke to her daughter every day. “She talks to other family members quite often, every day, texting, communicating, FaceTimes and then all of a sudden it stops. And there are no sightings of her since Friday. There’s no communications, there’s no track record of financials that she’s did. Her vehicle’s still in her yard and nobody’s heard from her,” Stone told the media.
Police tried calling her cell phone several times and even tried tracing it but found no activity.
Police have put up crime scene tape around her car. “It is a missing persons case and we are treating it also as a crime scene,” Stone told the media. Helicopters and cadaver dogs were used to search for the woman.
The police are obtaining search warrants for the vehicles at Keel’s home.
According to Stone, there had been domestic issues between Keel and Lynn about a year ago. He said there had been concerns between the two a while ago, though nothing had been reported about that recently.
Keel’s mother Esperanza Prada, who was in Colombia, also spoke to the media. She said she was scared for her daughter and just wanted her to be found. She told the investigators that Keel wanted to leave her husband but he had threatened her and forced her into staying. However, recently Keel decided to divorce Lynn and had even met an attorney about it. The couple has a 10-year-old son together, who was staying with his grandparents.
According to Lynn, Keel had left in a similar manner earlier as well and he expected her to be back. Lynn appeared to be “surprised” when he was informed that a body was found, Stone said.
In 2006, Lynn’s first wife died in the same house. Elizabeth Bess Edwards Keel died after she slipped and fell on the rear stairs of the house. Her death was termed accidental.
After the discovery of the body Tuesday, the FBI was also made a part of the investigation.