N.C. Woman Was Found Dead in Woods — and Suspect Husband Is Arrested Near Mexican Border
A North Carolina man wanted on murder charges in connection with his wife’s death was arrested in Arizona near the Mexican border, PEOPLE confirms.
Rexford Lynn Keel Jr., was taken into custody Sunday, two days after it was announced the 57-year-old was wanted for the murder of his wife, Diana Alejandra Keel, Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said at a press conference Sunday.
Keel was apprehended by Arizona State Police 30 minutes outside Benson near the Mexican border after authorities received a tip that he was in the area heading west, Stone said. Inside the vehicle was a large amount of cash.
Stone said that Keel, who was driving his father’s vehicle, allegedly fled North Carolina after being questioned by investigators regarding the disappearance of his wife, who was reported missing March 9, Stone said.
On Tuesday, Diana’s body was found in the woods, and he was declared a person of interest. On Friday, authorities announced he was wanted for first-degree murder.
Diana had been reported missing by her 18-year-old daughter. Keel was the last person to see her alive, telling police he last saw her on March 8 when she went out to run errands. However, her car remained parked in the couple’s Nashville home.
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This is the second wife of Keel’s to die.
On Jan. 1, 2006, authorities conducted an investigation into the death of his first wife, Elizabeth Edward Keel, according to a Nash County Sheriff’s Office press release.
Elizabeth’s death was ruled accidental. She died of blunt trauma to the head after falling and hitting her forehead on the home’s concrete steps. Keel was home at the time of the incident, which took place at the same home from which Diana was reported missing, a Nash County spokesperson previously told PEOPLE.
On Sunday, Stone told reporters investigators were going to “go back and look” at the death of Keel’s first wife, WRAL, WGME and CBS17 report.
Keel is expected to appear in court Monday afternoon on a fugitive warrant, the sheriff’s office spokesperson says. He is awaiting extradition. Keel and Diana shared a 10-year-old son who is staying with relatives.
“What a sad and traumatic experience this is,” Stone said, WRAL reports.