A missing 70-year-old woman was found covered in concrete in the basement of her Linville Falls, North Carolina home, High Country Press reports. Authorities announced Sunday that the woman’s live-in caretaker, Elizabeth Katherine Carserino, also known as Elizabeth Freeman, has been arrested and charged with her murder.
A missing person report was filed for the elderly woman, Lynn Gay Keene, by her family on July 30. The family told police that they had not heard from her since June 14.
Police initially discovered that Keene’s vehicle was missing from her home and entered it into a database in hopes of tracking it down. The 2000 Lincoln Town Car was eventually discovered on August 2 in Cherokee, North Carolina, abandoned and with two empty concrete bags inside.
After obtaining a search warrant for Keene’s home, police noticed flies swarming around in the basement. Authorities broke through a mass of concrete in the basement and discovered Keene’s body. She was identified using dental records. It was determined after an autopsy that she had not died from natural causes.
“She had blunt force trauma to the head as well as strangulation by ligature—it was a belt,” Sheriff’s Detective Tim Austin told KCRG News.
Surveillance footage from a store in a town near Linville Falls shows Carserino driving Keene’s car and using one of her bank cards. She was taken into police custody on August 7 after being located at a North Carolina hospital receiving treatment for a drug-related issue.
Carserino was initially booked on charges of identity theft, larceny of motor vehicle, and financial card theft by the Jackson County, North Carolina’s Sheriff’s Department. Once she was passed into the custody of authorities in Avery County, Sheriff Kevin Frye added murder to her charges. The department worked in conjunction with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation on the case.
Authorities are also pursuing the possibility that Carserino had help from one or more additional parties, as it is thought that the bags of concrete would have been too heavy for her to lift and use on her own, being only 5-feet 4-inches tall and weighing roughly 200 pounds.
Carserino is currently being held at the Avery County Detention Facility on a $1,625,000 secured bond. She was scheduled to make her first court appearance on Monday.
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