Nash County man charged with murder in wife’s death will return to NC Friday

March 22, 2019
Lynn Keel (Photo: Nash Sheriff)

The Nash County man who has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife will be extradited from Arizona to North Carolina on Friday, according to the Nash County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Keith Stone said that Lynn Keel, who appeared before an Arizona judge Thursday afternoon, is expected to arrive back in North Carolina at about 4 p.m. Friday.

Stone said Keel waived his right to fight extradition, clearing the way for him to return to Nash County to face trial.

“It makes it easier when a person would waive, because then we don’t need to bring evidence and photographs,” Stone said during a Thursday afternoon press conference in Arizona.

On Thursday, law enforcement authorities in Arizona released search warrants that shed new light on the murder of Diana Keel, 38, who worked as an emergency room nurse before she was slain.

Diana Keel’s body was found last week in a wooded area about 30 miles from the Nash County home she shared with her husband.

After being considered a person of interest and questioned by investigators, her husband disappeared for at least two days before he was found last weekend in Arizona while driving his parents’ 1998 Chevy pickup truck with North Carolina plate.

“His demeanor is just as it is in the courtroom. Very easy going, very soft-spoken, no real emotions at all,” Stone said Thursday when asked about Lynn Keel’s behavior during questioning.

According to the search warrants released Wednesday by investigators in Pima County, Arizona:

“The Arizona Department of Public Safety did a wonderful job apprehending this man before he left carnage somewhere else,” Stone said Thursday. “Anytime a man is charged with murder, we don’t want him on the streets.”

Stone said he could not speculate about where Lynn Keel was heading, but said, “I know he had no intentions of coming back to Nash County.”

Investigators said Lynn Keel originally told them that his wife had left home to run some errands before she vanished.

“My sister would not leave her kids alone,” Diana Keel’s brother, Mauricio, told WRAL News 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 death of Diana Keel has now prompted Nash County authorities to look into the death of his Lynn Keel’s first wife, Bess, who died in 2006.

Lynn Keel told investigators that she fell on some ice going up the steps outside their home and hit her head. Her death was ruled accidental. She was 42.

“We’re going to work all the leads on that, and we’re going to go back and look at the information we had on the first incident reports,” Stone said. “We’re going to talk with the District Attorney’s Office. It’s something that we need to be looking at.”

In a statement, Bess Keel’s family said they have “always questioned Bess’ death and feel deeply saddened that another life has now been taken.”

Matthew Lambert, who worked with Bess Keel for four years at Microbac Laboratories in Wilson, remembered her as “sweet and nice” and remembers questioning her sudden death.

On Wednesday, those who knew Bess Keel said they questioned her death when it occurred.

Iva Winston attends Momeyer Baptist Church, where Bess and Lynn Keel were married in 1982.

“It was just a whole lot of talk with the law investigating everything,” Winston said. “Everybody was talking among themselves with speculations.”

Said Sheriff Stone: “Obviously, there is a concern there. The public has asked us to look into it and I feel like we need to do that.”