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Authorities say a body discovered Tuesday is believed to be that of 38-year-old Diana Alejandra Keel, who went missing last week.
Sheriff’s deputies say Keel, a Wilson Medical Center nurse who lives in Nash County, was last seen by her husband, Lynn Keel, on Friday.
A state Department of Transportation worker found a decomposed body around noon in rural Edgecombe County about 30 to 40 feet off the highway and inside the woods, Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said a Tuesday evening press conference.
The body, which will be sent to the medical examiner’s office for an autopsy, has yet to be positively identified as Keel, according to officials.
“The identity of the body has not been 100 percent confirmed,” Stone said during the press conference.
Stone said investigators suspect foul play in the death. The body was found about two to three miles outside the town of Leggett between N.C. 97 and N.C. 33.
Stone said Keel’s husband, who was brought in for questioning, is considered a person of interest in her disappearance. Stone said he’s been “very cooperative” with authorities.
Authorities on Tuesday conducted a wide search for Keel, who was reported missing Saturday by her daughter, Chief Deputy Brandon Medina of the Nash County Sheriff’s Office told The Wilson Times earlier Tuesday.
Deputies were called to couple’s home on the 200 block of Old County Home Road, which is in the town of Momeyer and has a Nashville address, at 7:36 p.m. Saturday.
Authorities executed a search warrant at the home Tuesday to see if they could find any information on her last known activities to determine if she had any plans or meetings or left any clues to her possible whereabouts, Medina said.
Keel’s car remained at the home. Stone told ABC 11 in an earlier interview Tuesday that Keel’s husband told them she left with some acquaintances and didn’t return.
Family and coworkers have also been interviewed in the case.
Stone said he wanted to thank the Wake County Sheriff’s Office, Greensboro Police Department, the FBI, Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office and the Rocky Mount Police Department for their assistance.
“We’ve all come together and are working this investigation,” he said, adding that investigators hope to solve the case quickly.
Keel’s registered nursing license has been active since June 2017, according to the N.C. Board of Nursing. Her employer told investigators she had not reported to work in the last few days, according to the sheriff’s office.
The Old County Home Road property is owned by her husband, according to Nash County tax records. The property sits on more than 8 acres of land, according to records.
Keel’s daughter, Laura, pleaded to the public in a weekend Twitter post about her missing mother and asked others to get the word out.
“...this is insane .. you see this happen to everyone else and you don’t think it’s every (sic) going to happen to you,” the tweet read.
Anyone with information on Keel’s disappearance is asked to call the Nash County Sheriff’s Office at 252-459-4121 or Twin County Crime Stoppers at 252-977-1111.