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Missing 70-year-old woman found entombed in concrete in N.C., caretaker found hospitalized

Officers are searching for Elizabeth Freeman, who may also be going by the name Elizabeth Carserino, of South Carolina.
Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 12:09 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 6, 2021 at 10:08 PM EDT
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AVERY COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - A 70-year-old woman missing out of Avery County for almost two months was found entombed in concrete in the basement of a home. Her caretaker, who was deemed as a person of interest, has been found in the hospital with a drug issue.

Avery County Sheriff’s Office filed a missing person report for 70-year-old Lynn Gay Keene on Friday, July 30. She was reported missing by family from her home in Linville Falls with their last contact being June 14.

Detectives found the home secured and Keene’s vehicle a 2000 Lincoln Town car was not at her home. Keene and her vehicle were entered into the state database in an attempt to locate her or her vehicle.

Officers with the Cherokee Police Department reported to the Avery County Sheriff’s Office that Monday that Keene’s vehicle had been located abandoned on Blue Wing Road in Cherokee.

A search of the vehicle showed that the car was locked and the keys for the vehicle were found underneath the driver’s seat.

Avery Detectives then got a search warrant for the home of Lynn Keene and with assistance from the NC SBI and their crime scene team, and a search of the home was conducted.

During the search detectives and SBI agents found human remains entombed in concrete in the basement. An autopsy was performed on the human remains that were located and it was determined through dental records that the remains were that of Keene. The autopsy also concluded that the cause of death was a homicide and that Keene did not die of natural causes.

A person of interest has been established as Elizabeth Freeman, who may also be going by the name Elizabeth Carserino, of South Carolina.

Freeman was hired by the family to be the live-in caretaker of Keene. Freeman is 53 years old, 5′4″ tall and about 200 lbs. Freeman had shoulder-length sandy blond hair.

Currently, Elizabeth Freeman faces charges of larceny of a motor vehicle, financial card theft and identity theft.

On Friday night, Freeman was found in a hospital in western North Carolina with a drug issue.

Detective Tim Austin says after the vehicle was found, he “knew something was up.”

Two empty bags of a concrete mixture were found in the trunk. That’s when the investigation changed from a missing persons case to something more and when warrants were sought to enter the Keene home.

When he and another detective opened the door to the basement, detective Austin says “we saw a large amount of flies and that’s an indicator of something deceased.”

A mass of hardened concrete was found and that’s when the SBI was called in. Agents broke enough of the concrete to discover human remains inside.

The medical examiner’s office made a positive ID and determined Keene’s death was murder.

“She had blunt force trauma to the head as well as strangulation by ligature, it was a belt,” said Austin.

As investigators searched for Freeman, they found surveillance video at a store in Marion that showed the caretaker driving Keene’s car and using one of her bank cards.

Deputies believe someone else may have been involved.

The two bags of concrete mixture were each 80 pounds.

They believe that was too much for Freeman to handle by herself.

Austin says the case is quite unusual.

“In my 16 years in law enforcement, I’ve never seen anything like this,” Austin said.

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