North Carolina authorities announced on Wednesday that a woman’s body found in Edgecombe County on Tuesday has been identified as missing mom and wife, Diana Keel.
ABC 7 reports that Diana, an emergency department nurse at Wilson Medical Center, was found in Leggett, around 24 miles from her Nashville, North Carolina, home. On Wednesday, the Nash County Sheriff’s Office announced that foul play was “definitely involved” in her death. The manner in which she died has not been released, pending autopsy results.
Diana’s husband, Lynn Keel, is reportedly a person of interest in her death. Diana’s friend Taryn Edwards described the man as abusive, according to the outlet.
“The verbal and emotional abuse was evident to me as a friend,” Edwards told ABC 7. “The atmosphere of the house was always really tense. He hovered a lot, never allowed her to be alone with anybody for extended periods of time.”
Diana’s 18-year-old daughter reported her mother missing after she disappeared on Saturday evening, leaving her car in the driveway. Lynn Keel reportedly said he didn’t report his wife’s disappearance because she was known to leave “from time to time,” according to ABC News.
“He said that she leaves from time to time and will stay gone a couple of days,” Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said during a Wednesday press conference.
Police brought Lynn Keel in for questioning and to identify his wife’s body on Tuesday. He was released the same day. Although detectives are calling him a person of interest, they are remaining mostly mum on the subject.
“This is a homicide investigation at this time. I don’t want to get into elaborating too much on the specifics of the case because we’re doing investigations as of right now…. The cause of death was the act of someone,” Stone explained. “There’s a killer on the loose.”
Stone added that the husband was not the only person of interest but declined to release any other names.
Meanwhile, Diana reportedly confided in Edwards that she was trying to leave her husband. Edwards said she was trying to help her break away when her husband found out and demanded that Diana break off the friendship.
“She hugged me. I was crying. She told me not to cry that everything was going to be OK. When she walked out the door, that’s the last time I saw her.”
Diana’s mother, Esperanza Prada, also said she was concerned about her daughter’s marriage. Prada, who lives in Colombia, said Diana tried to leave her husband years ago, but was threatened, according to ABC 11.
“Years ago, my daughter wanted to separate from (her husband) but she couldn’t because he threatened her.”
In 2006, Lynn Keel’s previous wife, Elizabeth Bess Edwards Keel, passed away in their home. Authorities found Elizabeth with blunt force head trauma, but her death was ruled an accident. According to the sheriff’s office, Elizabeth supposedly fell and cracked her head on concrete steps.
Along with her 18-year-old daughter, Diana leaves behind a 10-year-old son.
The story continues to develop. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Diana Keel/Handout; Facebook]