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'Definitely foul play:' Body found during search for missing Nash County woman

The FBI has joined in the search for a missing Nash County woman who was last seen four days ago, authorities said Tuesday.

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Sloane Heffernan
Emmy Victor, WRAL reporters
NASHVILLE, N.C. — Authorities have found a body they believe belongs to a Nash County woman who has been missing since Friday.

Deputies said Diana Alejandra Keel, 38, was last seen by her husband sometime Friday, and her car remains parked at their home in the 200 block of Old Country Home Road.

Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said in a Tuesday evening press conference that a Department of Transportation worker located a decomposing woman's body on Polks Hole Road in Tarboro.

The body was not positively identified and Stone said it will be sent to the medical examiner's office for an autopsy. Although a cause of death for the woman has not been determined, Stone said "there is definitely foul play involved."

"We're just going to take it step-by-step and take our time with the investigation," Stone said. “I’ve heard nobody that knew her had anything negative to say about this woman. What a tragic event. Even more tragic we now have a 10-year-old without a mom."

Keel's husband was being questioned Tuesday evening, but he has not been charged in connection with the case. Stone said her husband seemed to be "surprised" when he learned a body had been found.

Stone 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.

"I don't know what the conversation was between the husband and the wife," he said.

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."

The FBI joined the search for Keel, an emergency room nurse, on Tuesday morning and a dive team was spotted near a body of water about half a mile away from Keel's home Tuesday evening.

Stone said that the dive team continued searching the pond even after the body was discovered because they were looking for additional evidence in the case.

On Tuesday morning, the house was surrounded by crime tape.

A postal carrier told WRAL News that he saw Keel late last week and everything appeared fine and there was no indications of anything being amiss.

Keel's daughter, Laura Keel, posted pictures of herself and Diana Keel on Twitter, asking for information about the case.

Anybody with information is asked to call the Nash County Sheriff’s Office at 252-459-4121.


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