Body found believed to be missing woman last seen Friday, NC sheriff says

NASHVILLE, N.C. -- A body believed to be of a missing Nash County woman has been found, but will not be officially identified until an autopsy is complete, the Nash County Sheriff's Office said.

Deputies said an NCDOT worker found a body around noon Tuesday in the woods in Edgecombe County two to three miles outside of Leggett on Polk's Hole Road. Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said in a news conference that the body was decomposed and he suspected foul play was involved.

Diana Alejandra Keel, 38, was first reported missing by her daughter March 7.

Her husband, Lynn Keel, has been called in for questioning in relation to the case. Deputies have considered him a person of interest, but he is not under arrest.

Nash County deputies went to her home on Old County Home Road in Nashville on Saturday night after her husband, Lynn told them he'd last seen her Friday.

Stone said there had been a domestic issue between Diana and her husband about a year ago.

"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.

Diana's employer told investigators she had not reported to work in several days.

"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.

Her car is still parked at the home.

Stone said Diana's husband told them she left with some acquaintances and hasn't returned.

"There's been no use of her cell phone. We've reached out, tried to call her several times and can't get anything," Stone said.

Diana's mother, Esperanza Prada, spoke to ABC11 on Tuesday via telephone from her home in Colombia.

"I am afraid for my daughter," Prada said. "I want my daughter to appear."

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Investigators said Diana's husband told them she's left before, and he still expected her to be back.

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

Diana's mother told ABC11 that Diana had planned to divorce her husband and had already met with an attorney about it.

In 2006, Diana's husband's previous wife died at their home. It was considered accidental.

Stone said deputies have notified Diana's oldest daughter, who is in college, about the discovery. Diane's other child is a 10-year-old boy and deputies said the child is safe with a grandparent.
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