Man accused of murdering his wife goes before Nash Co. judge

NASH COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - A Nash County man accused of murdering his wife went before a judge Tuesday morning.

Lynn Keel Jr. is charged in the murder of his wife, Diana Keel.

In court, Keel made no statements but did request a court-appointed attorney.

The wife's body was found in the woods about 30 miles from their home about two weeks ago. Her cause of death is still being determined, but Sheriff Keith Stone says she had been stabbed.

Keel was extradited back to North Carolina on Friday after he was captured in Arizona, about an hour from the Mexico border.

Stone says this case is making deputies take another look into the death of Keel's first wife, which was ruled accidental.

Keel's next court date is April 11th.



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The Nash County man accused of killing his wife is back in North Carolina after a manhunt and an arsenal of weapons were found in his home.

Lynn Keel arrived at the Nash County Sheriff's office Friday afternoon after being extradited from Arizona where he was arrested Sunday on charges related to the case.

"He made no comments about any allegations on the flight back, I flew with him," said Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone.

57 year-old Keel is charged with first degree murder in the death of 38 year-old Diana Keel. Her body was found in the woods about 30 miles from their home last week. Her cause of death is still being determined but the Sheriff says she had been stabbed.

First considered a person of interest, her husband was free to go after being questioned by deputies. Evidence later prompted the department to issue a warrant for Keel's arrest.

"There is a key piece of evidence that I don't want to elaborate on at this time," said Stone.

Keel is a gunsmith and deputies found 61 guns, 3 swords and a machete type knife in a search of the couple's home. Sheriff Stone said he does not believe a gun was used in Diana Keel's death. The Sheriff said he knew Lynn Keel as an acquaintance before this case.

"Any time you have a citizen that commits first degree murder it's very surprising and especially as quiet as he was," said Stone.

Keel was taken into custody Sunday morning in Arizona, about an hour from the Mexico border. He voluntarily returned to Nash County after an extradition hearing. The Sheriff said Keel was calm and quiet during the flight back and only talked to him about the three day drive west from North Carolina.

Keel was driving his father's pickup truck. His truck, his wife's car and their home were being searched in the time before Keel left the state and he had been staying with his parents. Keel told Sheriff Stone he was heading farther west when he was apprehended.

Stone hopes his office will be able to bring justice in the case now that Keel is back in Nash County.

"We have got a killer off the streets which is a good thing, but we've still got a lot of investigation to go into this," said Stone.

The Sheriff said this case is also making his office take another look into the death of Keel's first wife, which was ruled accidental.

Keel is scheduled to appear in a Nash County court Tuesday for an arraignment for his charges in Diana Keel's death.

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Deputies seized an arsenal of weapons at the home of a Nash County man accused of killing his wife.

Lynn Keel was arrested in Arizona on Sunday and is now back in Eastern Carolina to face charges he killed 38-year-old Diana Keel.

Deputies searched the couple's home on Old County Home Road while the woman was still missing.

Inside they found 61 guns, three swords, and a machete-type knife, among other things.

Her body was found in the woods about 30 miles away from the couple's home in Nash County last week.

Keel was taken into custody Sunday morning in Arizona, about an hour from the Mexico border. He voluntarily returned to Nash County after an extradition hearing on Thursday in Arizona.

Deputies also obtained search warrants for Keel's pickup truck and his wife's car that was found at their home.


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A Nash County man charged with the murder of his wife will return to North Carolina later today.

Lynn Keel Jr., 57, of Nash County will be extradited from Arizona. He's charged in the murder of his wife, 38-year-old Diana Keel.

Her body was found in the woods about 30 miles away from the couple's home in Nash County last week.

Keel was taken into custody Sunday morning in Arizona, about an hour from the Mexico border.

Warrants say authorities found him after his truck went through a license plate reader.

He went before a judge in Arizona Thursday, where he waived extradition, clearing the way for him to return to Nash County to face trial.

Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone says this will make the process much quicker.

"It makes it easier when a person would waive because then we don't have to bring in the evidence and photographs and have to come in and basically identify the person and tell a short verbage of what he's wanted for in that state. It prevents that and will just be a quicker process to go through," said Stone.

Stone said Keel could face the death penalty if it's proven that the murder was premeditated.

The sheriff will have a 4:30 p.m. news conference in Nashville to discuss Keel's return.



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A Nash County man accused of murdering his wife is expected to go before a judge in Arizona Thursday.

Rexford Lynn Keel Jr., 57, is charged in the murder of his 38-year-old wife Diana Keel.

Her body was found in the woods about 30 miles away from the couple's home in Nash County last week.

Our sister station WRAL reports​ that she was found wearing only underwear and a gold ring on her finger.

Deputies also say they found tire tracks at the scene.

Keel was taken into custody Sunday morning in Arizona about an hour from the Mexico border.

Warrants obtained by WRAL say authorities found him after his truck went through a license plate reader. The report says that inside his truck, deputies found a knife, camping equipment, canned food, a cell phone, bedding, a cooler and medication.

Nash County deputies are expected to be inside the courtroom in Arizona. Sheriff Keith Stone says that's when they'll decide how soon Keel will return to North Carolina.

"He will either comply with the request to come back to North Carolina or we will file for extradition," said Sheriff Stone.

If Keel complies, he'll arrive back in North Carolina Friday and will be brought to the Nash County jail.

If he fights extradition, investigators will have to get a Governor's Warrant to force his return, which could take a few days.



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A Nash County man accused of murdering his wife was arrested in Arizona Sunday morning following a traffic stop.

Rexford Keel Jr., 57, was charged with murdering his wife, 38-year-old Diana Keel.

Authorities arrested Rexford Keel during a traffic stop on Interstate 10 near Tucson, Arizona, according to the Nash County Sheriff’s Office.

Keel has not made any statements, but officials found many Wells Fargo receipts and a large sum of money in his possession, authorities said.

Diana Keel was reported missing March 9 and her decomposing body was found on March 12 in a wooded area in Leggett, about 30 miles from her home.

Rexford Keel was originally considered a person of interest in the case and was free to go after being questioned by deputies.

On Friday, the Sheriff’s Office issued a warrant for his arrest, but at that point officials did not know his whereabouts.

The murder suspect is now being held at the Pima County Jail in Tucson, Arizona.



Previous Story

The Nash County Sheriff's Office says a warrant has been issued for a Nash County man charging him with murder in the death of his wife.

The sheriff's office is searching for 57-year-old Rexford Keel Jr. for the murder of his wife, 38-year-old Diana Keel.

Diana Keel was reported missing last week and her remains were found earlier this week.

The sheriff's office says the whereabouts of Rexford Keel are currently unknown.

Keel is believed to be operating a 1998 Chevy Pick-up possibly pewter/gold color with North Carolina registration plate BBM-9232.

Anyone with information can call the Nash County Sheriff’s Office at (252) 459- 4121 or Twin County Crime Stoppers at (252) 977-1111.