Arrest warrant issued for husband of murdered North Carolina nurse

PHOTO: Diana Alejandra Keel, 38, is pictured in an undated photo released by the Nash County Sheriff in Nashville, N.C., on March 11, 2019. She was reported missing on March 9.PlayNash County Sheriff
WATCH Man suspected of murdering his wife in North Carolina has been captured

Authorities in North Carolina are searching for the husband of a murdered nurse -- issuing an arrest warrant for first-degree murder on Friday after initially describing the man as a "person of interest."

Rexford Lynn Keel Jr., 57, is considered armed and dangerous, local law enforcement officials told ABC News North Carolina affiliate WTVD. Keel, who goes by Lynn, was last seen in Nashville, North Carolina around noon Thursday but his current whereabouts are unknown, investigators said on Friday.

Diana Keel, an emergency room nurse and a mother of two, was reported missing last Saturday by her teenage daughter.

Her body was discovered on Tuesday by the state's Department of Transportation employees near Leggett, North Carolina, about 30 minutes from her home in Nashville, North Carolina, according to the Nash County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities believe the 38-year-old woman's body had been there since Saturday. She also leaves behind a 10-year-old son.

PHOTO: Diana Alejandra Keel, 38, is pictured in an undated photo released by the Nash County Sheriff in Nashville, N.C., on March 11, 2019. She was reported missing on March 9. Nash County Sheriff
Diana Alejandra Keel, 38, is pictured in an undated photo released by the Nash County Sheriff in Nashville, N.C., on March 11, 2019. She was reported missing on March 9.

Keel was last seen by her husband, Rexford Lynn Keel, on Friday, the sheriff's office said.

Interviewed by detectives earlier this week, Lynn Keel said he didn't report his wife missing because she would leave "from time to time" and "stay gone a couple of days," authorities said Wednesday.

Diana Keel's employer said she hadn't been at work in a few days and her car has remained parked at her home, officials said.

As investigators dig into Keel's mysterious death, detectives have also followed-up on the Jan. 1, 2006, death of Keel's former wife, Elizabeth Edward Keel, the sheriff's office said Wednesday.

Edward Keel fell and hit her forehead on the corner of the concrete steps at the front of the couple's home, according to the sheriff's office.

PHOTO: Diana Alejandra Keel, 38, is pictured in an undated photo released by the Nash County Sheriff in Nashville, N.C., on March 11, 2019. She was reported missing on March 9. Nash County Sheriff
Diana Alejandra Keel, 38, is pictured in an undated photo released by the Nash County Sheriff in Nashville, N.C., on March 11, 2019. She was reported missing on March 9.

Edward Keel's death was ruled accidental based on blunt trauma to the head, the medical examiner's office determined at the time, the sheriff's office said.

Lynn Keel was not listed as a suspect in Edward Keel's death, said Brandon Medina, Chief Deputy of the Nash County Sheriff’s Office.

But, in the wake of Keel's killing, investigators have reviewed in detail Edward Keel's death report, autopsy report and photographs, "along with the notes from the primary deputy, investigator" and other witnesses, Medina told ABC News via email Thursday.

Lynn Keel continued to live in the same house his first wife died in, officials said.

Authorities said that Keel is believed to be driving a 1998 Chevy pickup truck that is possibly pewter/gold color with North Carolina registration plate BBM-9232. Anyone with information about his whereabouts was asked to call the Nash sheriff at 252-459- 4121.