By Tim Gardner
A 70-year-old woman missing out of Avery County for nearly two months was found entombed in concrete in the basement of her home by law enforcement authorities. And her live-in caretaker, who was deemed as a person of interest, has been found and is currently under medical care for a drug-related issue, according to Avery County Sheriff Kevin Frye.
Sheriff Frye said he will release an official statement about the case on Monday, August 9th.
On Friday, July 30th, the Avery County Sheriff’s Department filed a missing person report on 70-year-old, Lynn Gay Keene. Keene’s family members reported her missing from her home in Linville Falls. 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.
Reports indicate that Keene’s last contact with her family was on June 14th.
On Monday August 2, 2021, Cherokee, NC Police Officers reported to the Avery County Sheriff’s Department that Keene’s vehicle had been located and was abandoned on Blue Wing Road in Cherokee. A search of the vehicle showed that the car was locked. But the keys for the vehicle were discovered underneath the driver’s seat.
Two empty bags of a concrete mixture were found in the car trunk. 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. Law enforcement authorities have ruled the cause of death as murder.
A person of interest has been established in connection with this homicide. The Avery County Sheriff’s Department and SBI agents had been searching for Elizabeth Freeman of South Carolina, who may also be using the name Elizabeth Carserino. On Friday night, Freeman was found in a western North Carolina hospital, diagnosed with a drug issue.
Keene had blunt force trauma to her head and was strangled with a belt, according to law enforcement officials.
As investigators searched for Freeman (Carserino), 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.
Law enforcement officials also believe another person or persons may be involved in Keene’s murder. 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 Freeman (Carserino) to handle and lift by herself.
Freeman (Carserino) was hired as the live-in caretaker by Keene’s family.
Law enforcement authorities said Freeman (Carserino) is 53 years old, 5-foot; 4-inches tall, weighs approximately 200 pounds and has shoulder length, sandy, blond hair.
Freeman (Carserino) is wanted for questioning about Keene’s death. She already has warrants issued for her arrest for larceny of a motor vehicle, financial card theft and identity theft, Sheriff Frye confirmed.
He said that Freeman (Carserino) has not been arrested for those warrants due to her currently being treated for the drug-related issue.
Sheriff Frye added that Freeman (Carserino) has not been charged with murder in connection with Keene’s death at the time of publication of this story.
Before Freeman (Carserino) was located, Sheriff Frye said it is believed Freeman may be in in Dorchester County, SC area or the Cummings, GA area as she has family in both places.