By Tim Gardner
Elizabeth Katherine Carserino of Goose Creek, SC has been arrested and charged with murder of a 70-year-old woman who had been missing for nearly two months and was found entombed in concrete in the basement of her home in the Linville Falls community of Avery County by law enforcement authorities.
Avery County Sheriff Kevin Frye announced the murder charge in a press release Sunday, in which he wrote that Carserino is currently being held in the Avery County Detention Facility under a secured bond of $1,625,000.00.
Carserino, who also had used the name of Elizabeth Freeman, was a live-in caretaker for Lynn Gay Keene. On Friday, July 30th, the Avery County Sheriff’s Department filed a missing person report on Keene. Keene’s family members reported her missing from her home. Reports indicate that Keene’s last contact with her family was on June 14th.
Law Enforcement Detectives went to Keene’s home and found it to be secured. However, they did not find a 2000 Lincoln Town car owned by Keene at her residence. Keene and her vehicle had been entered into the state data base in an attempt to locate Keene or her vehicle.
On Monday August 2nd, Cherokee, NC Police Officers reported to the Avery County Sheriff’s Department that Keene’s vehicle had been located and was abandoned there. A search of the vehicle showed that the car was locked. But the keys for the vehicle were discovered underneath the driver’s seat and two empty bags of concrete was also discovered in the vehicle. That’s when the investigation changed from a missing person’s case and warrants were sought to enter Keene’s home.
Avery Sheriff’s Department personnel, with assistance from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) and its Crime Scene Team conducted a search of the home. During the search of its basement, a large number of flies were seen, which indicated something or someone nearby to be deceased. A mass of hardened concrete was then found and broken through to discover human remains entombed. An autopsy was performed on the human remains and it was determined through dental records that the remains were those of Keene. The autopsy also concluded that Keene did not die of natural causes.
Keene had blunt force trauma to her head and was strangled with a belt, according to law enforcement officials.
Carserino was deemed as a person of interest in the crime. As investigators searched for her, they found surveillance video at a store in Marion, NC–about 20 miles South of Linville Falls– that showed the caretaker driving Keene’s car and using one of her bank cards.
Carserino was eventually found in a Western North Carolina hospital, where she was being treated for a drug related issue. On Saturday, August 7th, she was taken into custody by the Jackson County, NC Sheriff’s Department on outstanding warrants from Avery County for the charges of: Identity Theft, Larceny of Motor Vehicle and Financial Card Theft. Those charges are in connection with taking Keene’s vehicle and using Keene’s financial card.
Sheriff Frye noted that the Avery County Sheriff’s Office assumed custody of Carserino on August 7th and in conjunction with the SBI, added the additional charge of murder.
Law enforcement officials also believe another person or persons may be involved in Keene’s murder and are investigating that possibility. The two pounds of concrete mixture found in the trunk of Keene’s vehicle each weighed about 80 pounds and law enforcement authorities said they may have been too heavy for Carserino to handle and lift by herself.
Law enforcement authorities added that Carserino is 53 years old, 5-foot; 4-inches tall and weighs approximately 200 pounds.
And it’s not been released how she got from the abandoned vehicle to a hospital for drug issue treatment.
Additional photos of Carserino