A caretaker has been has been arrested in connection to a murder of an elderly woman who was found buried in concrete in the basement of a home in Avery County, North Carolina.
Elizabeth Katherine Carserino, also known as Elizabeth Freeman, 53, was taken into custody by the Jackson County Sheriff's Office on Saturday for allegedly killing Lynn Gay Keene, 70.
Keene was Reported Missing Last Month
On July 30, Avery County deputies filed a missing person report for Keene after she was reported missing from her Linville Falls home by family members, who said they had not heard from her since June 14.
When detectives initially went to Keene's home, they found it was secured and Keene's 2000 Lincoln Town Car was missing. 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 on Monday that Keene's vehicle had been located and was left abandoned on a street in Cherokee. The car was locked and the keys for the vehicle were found underneath the driver's seat.
Keene Suffered Blunt Force Trauma, was Strangled with a Belt
Investigators then obtained a search warrant for Keene's home and when detectives opened the door to the basement, they saw a large amount of flies, which indicated there was "something deceased." Upon further inspection, a mass of hardened concrete was found and when agents broke through the concrete they found human remains.
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.
"She had blunt force trauma to the head as well as strangulation by ligature - it was a belt," said Detective Tim Austin. Deputies then identified Freeman, who was hired by Keene's family to be her live-in caretaker, as a suspect. A search of the vehicle's trunk had led to the discovery of two empty bags of concrete mixture, which is when the investigation changed from a missing persons case to something more, and when warrants were sought to search the Keene home.
Freeman Charged with Murder, Identity Theft and Larceny of Motor Vehicle
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. Freeman was later located at a hospital with a drug issue. She was charged with murder, identity theft, larceny of motor vehicle and financial card theft. She was taken to the Avery County Detention Center under a bond of $1.62 million.
Detectives believe there may have been a third person involved as the two bags of concrete mixture each weighed 80 pounds and may have been too heavy for Freeman to handle by herself.