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Missing woman was victim of brutal murder

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Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone speaks during a press conference Wednesday at the Sheriff's Office in Nashville.

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BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Staff Writer

Thursday, March 14, 2019

NASHVILLE — A missing Nash County mother was brutally slain and her body dumped along a rural road in Edgecombe County, authorities have confirmed.

"Definitely, there is a killer on the loose," Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said at a Wednesday night press conference.

Diana Alejandra Keel, 38, was reported missing by family and coworkers late last week. The official missing person report was filed Saturday by her husband Lynn Keel.

Diana Keel was dead by that point, with her body decomposing along Pokes Hole Road, four miles outside Leggett and a 30-minute drive from her home on Old County Home Road in Nashville.

Lynn Keel is a person of interest in his wife's disappearance and death, Stone said, adding that Keel didn't report her missing for a few days because she's been known to leave for a couple of days at a time.

Family and coworkers at Wilson Medical Center, where she's a nurse, say Diana Keel never goes more than a day without communicating.

Based on that information, Stone said he borrowed cadaver dogs from Greenville police to search for the missing woman.

Her body was found Tuesday by a state transportation worker.

Lynn Keel was questioned until around 9 p.m., when he was released by detectives, Stone said, adding that other possible suspects or accomplices can't be ruled out.

Stone said authorities have responded to the Keel home in the past for domestic issues.

The couple's 10-year-old child is staying with relatives.

“The most difficult aspect of this case is a 10-year-old son and an 18-year-old daughter are without their mother.” Stone said.

Family described Diana Keel, who is a native of Colombia, as a joyful, caring mother who would never leave her children alone. Her car was parked Saturday in the driveway of her home when deputies responded to he missing person report.

Lynn Keel’s first wife, 42-year-old Elizabeth Bess Edwards Keel, died in 2006 at the same house.

Stone said Diana Keel's homicide is one of two unsolved murders in Nash County, excluding municipalities.

"We take pride in solving these cases," Stone said.

The Sheriff's Office is asking anyone who might have video footage of any highways or roads in the area where Diana Keel's body was discovered to contact his detectives. Anyone with information about the investigation can call the Nash County Sheriff’s Office at 252-459- 4121 or Twin County Crime Stoppers at 252-977-1111.

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