Local News

Authorities confirm body found Tuesday is missing Nash County woman; homicide investigation underway

Posted March 13, 2019 5:39 p.m. EDT
Updated March 14, 2019 7:14 a.m. EDT

— The Nash County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday confirmed that a decomposing body found by a Department of Transportation worker on Tuesday is that of a Nash County woman who went missing Friday.

The worker discovered the body in Leggett, in a wooded area about 30 miles from the home of Diana Alejandra Keel, 38, who was last seen last week. Sheriff Keith Stone said an autopsy confirmed the identity of the body, which he believes had been in the woods since Keel disappeared on March 9.

Stone would not specify a cause of death for Keel but said, "The cause of death was the act of someone." Stone said Keel's death is being investigated as a homicide.

"Definitely there's a killer on the loose and we're doing everything we can," Stone said in a Wednesday night press conference.

Stone said that Keel's husband is still considered a person of interest in her death, but he was free to go after being questioned by deputies Tuesday afternoon. Stone said Keel's husband has been cooperating with authorities.

Stone said he was told that Keel's husband did not report his wife's disappearance because she would frequently leave the home for several days at a time.

Stone said Tuesday that there had been calls for service to the home for "communication problems" and "small domestic issues" but he did not elaborate on details about those calls. When asked if Keel's disappearance could have been the result of a domestic dispute, he said he didn't know enough about the couple to say for sure.

Investigators said Keel told her husband she was leaving the home to run some errands and she has not been seen since, according to authorities.

"My sister would not leave her kids alone," Keel's brother Mauricio said from his home in Columbia. "She is joyful, she is caring, she is a great mother, she is the best sister ever. She's like a guardian angel."

Stone asked anyone with surveillance video from March 9 to March 12 around N.C. Highway 97, Battleboro Leggett Rd, N.C. Highway 33 and U.S. Highway 64 to contact the sheriff's office.

Anyone with information about the case was asked to call the Nash County Sheriff’s Office at 252-459- 4121