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Missing 70-year-old North Carolina woman found buried in concrete at home, investigators say

She had been missing for several weeks

NEWLAND, N.C. (AP) – A western North Carolina woman missing for several weeks has been found dead in her home, buried in concrete, a sheriff’s investigator said.

An autopsy and dental records confirmed the remains of Lynn Gay Keene, 70, of Linville Falls, were found in the basement, according to the Avery County Sheriff’s Office.

Her death was discovered during the past weekdays after the sheriff’s office filed a missing person’s report on July 30 for Keene, who had last been in contact with her family in mid-June, multiple news reports said. The cause of death was a homicide, according to authorities.

“She had blunt force trauma to the head as well as strangulation by ligature — it was a belt,” sheriff’s Det. Tim Austin told WBTV in Charlotte, which is 110 miles (177 kilometers) miles southeast of Linville Falls.

The Avery sheriff’s office and the State Bureau of Investigation said a woman hired by Keene’s family to be her live-in caretaker was a person of interest in the case, according to news outlets.

Sheriff Kevin Frye didn’t immediately respond to phone messages Saturday seeking more details. The High Country Press newspaper, citing Frye, reported that the woman being sought is currently receiving medical care and that Frye would release an official statement on Monday.

Detectives initially going to Keene’s house had discovered her car was missing. Austin said he “knew something was up” after the vehicle was found with two empty bags of concrete were found in the trunk, according to WBTV.

Austin said he and another detective who opened the door to the basement, where a mass of hardened concrete was discovered, WBTV reported. SBI agents broke enough of the concrete to discover human remains inside.

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