Authorities in North Carolina have issued an arrest warrant in connection with the death of a woman earlier this week, and the suspect is someone who was close to the victim: her husband.
The Raleigh News and Observer reports that Lynn Keel, 57, has been charged with murder for allegedly killing his wife, Diana Keel. Lynn Keel had been considered a person of interest in the case, but Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said Friday evening he is now the main suspect.
Diana Alejandra Keel’s body was found about 30 miles from her home by a state Department of Transportation worker five days after she was reported missing, according to WRAL-TV. Her disappearance initially triggered a massive search for her.
Rexford Lynn Keel Jr., who goes by Lynn, said he last saw his wife on March 8, in which he told police that she had left with friends. Investigators said Lynn Keel was last seen in Nashville, North Carolina, on Thursday afternoon, but that his current location is unknown. Nashville is about 46 miles northeast of Raleigh.
Lynn Keel may be driving a 1998 pewter or gold Chevrolet pickup truck with North Carolina registration plate BBM-9232.
Stone said Diana Alejandra Keel was the mother of two.
“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.
Taryn Edwards, a friend of Diana, told ABC 7 that Lynn Keel had been verbally emotionally abusive to Diana during their marriage.
“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 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.”
Diana’s 18-year-old daughter reported her mother missing after she disappeared last Saturday, 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.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, 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.
To report information about the case or sightings of Lynn Keel, call the Nash County Sheriff’s office at 252-459- 4121.
[Feature Photo: Diana Keel/Handout; Facebook]
*Editor’s Note*: Additional reporting by Leigh Egan.