Who Was Diana Keel? New Details About The N.C. Woman Who Was Found Dead — And Why Her Husband Is A Person Of Interest In Her Murder

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Who Was Diana Keel? New Details About The N.C. Woman Who Was Found Dead — And Why Her Husband Is A Person Of Interest In Her Murder
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Authorities said foul play was "definitely" involved.

The husband of a North Carolina woman who disappeared Saturday was named a person of interest in her death after her body was found Tuesday.

Diana Keel, a 38-year-old emergency room nurse and mother of two, was reported missing Saturday by her daughter, according to the Nash County Sheriff's Office. Her body was located Tuesday by a Department of Transportation worker in Edgecombe County woods, about 30 miles from where she was last seen, Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said at a news conference.

Autopsy results are pending. Authorities have not released much information regarding Keel's body as to not compromise the ongoing investigation.

"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. Authorities are working diligently to find out what happened to Keel.

"It's very difficult, especially when I see life as it is and how fragile it is and now we have a kid without a mother. It's very difficult," Stone said. "We have a lot of unanswered questions. That's the reason we, as the Nash County Sheriff's office, operate with compassion, honor and diligence."

So who was Diana Keel? Here's what you need to know about her disappearance and death.

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1. Her disappearance was suspicious. 

Keel's employer said she failed to show up for work for days and her friends and family could not get ahold of her, which was unusual.

"She worked as an emergency room nurse. She stayed in contact with her family, stayed in contact with her work. She didn't miss work, and she's not been heard of or seen anywhere since the 7th," Stone said at a press conference.

Her car is still parked at her home in Nashville and her cell phone has not been used since she disappeared.

“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," Stone told reporters. "There’s no communications, there’s no track record of financials that she did. Her vehicle’s still in her yard and nobody’s heard from her."

Nash County Sheriff's Office


2. Foul play was "definitely" involved. 

Stone said at Wednesday that foul play was "definitely" involved in Keel's death.

"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 said. "There’s a killer on the loose."


3. Her husband was named a person of interest.

Keel's husband, Lynn Keel, 57, was named a person of interest in her death, Stone said at a Wednesday news conference. Stone said Lynn was "surprised" when he was told his wife's body had been found. He was questioned overnight but has since been released.

He told authorities he last saw his wife on Friday but didn't report her missing because "she leaves from time to time and will stay gone a couple of days," Stone said.

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4. She planned to divorce Lynn.

Keel's mother Esperanza Prada told ABC11 that her daughter had already met with an attorney to divorce her husband. Prada also said she had tried to divorce Lynn before but was too scared to go through with it.

"Years ago, my daughter wanted to separate from (her husband) but she couldn't because he threatened her," Prada said. 

Keel’s friend said Lynn was controlling and wouldn't let her be alone with anyone.

"The verbal and emotional abuse was evident to me as a friend," Taryn Edwards said. "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." 

Stone said that there had been a domestic dispute between Keel and Lynn about a year ago but nothing came of the “small domestic issues” and “communication problems.”

"There had been concerns between the husband at one time and Mrs. Keel but there has been nothing lately that has been reported on that," he said. 

Nash County Sheriff's Office


5. Her husband's first wife died in their home.

Lynn's previous wife Elizabeth Bess Edwards Keel died in their home in January 2006. Her death, caused by blunt trauma to the head, was declared accidental by a medical examiner WTVD-TV reported. She reportedly fell and hit her head on the concrete steps in front of the house.


6. She is remembered as a kind, selfless mother.

Those who knew Keel said she was loving and kind and would do anything for her kids, WRAL reported.

"The staff in the emergency department are really having a difficult time with this," said Mark Holyoak, CEO of Wilson Medical Center, where Keel worked. "Diana is one of those selfless individuals. She is someone that cares about people. She takes compassionate care of everyone she comes in contact with. This is a tough deal."

Daniel Barker, the pastor at Christian Fellowship Church, where Keel and her family attended, said Keel's death has shaken the town.

"This a tragedy that has rocked this community," Barker said. "She (was) known for her smile."

Keel's brother said she was a great mom.

"She is joyful, she is caring, she is a great mother, she is the best sister ever," Mauricio told WRAL over the phone from his home in Colombia. "She's like a guardian angel."

Anyone with information related to this missing person investigation is urged to contact the Nash County Sheriff’s Office at (252) 459- 4121 or Twin County Crime Stoppers at (252) 977-1111.

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Sarah Gangraw writes about all things news, entertainment and crime. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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