MPD come up empty in dig for body in Binghampton - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

MPD come up empty in dig for body in Binghampton

(Source: Chopper 5) (Source: Chopper 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Keila Freeman (Source: MPD) Keila Freeman (Source: MPD)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

Memphis Police Department dug for hours near a community garden in Binghampton Thursday. Neighbors said the search was part of the continued investigation into a missing mother and wife. 

MPD officials said they did not locate anything during the dig, and said they are unsure if they will return to the site for continued investigation.

Neighbors on the scene said crews were searching for the body of Keila Freeman. Police have not confirmed that their search is specifically for Freeman.

Crews broke up a concrete slab. Neighbors said they saw Freeman's husband, Randall Freeman, pouring the concrete slab a day after his wife went missing. Freeman went missing in September. Her husband was the last person to see her; he was later arrested on an unrelated arson charge.

Randall Freeman is in jail under a $500,000 bond for an arson charge. Many of Keila's friends and relatives, however, suspect he had something to do with her disappearance.

The concrete slab is a foundation for a building that has not yet been built. Neighbors said Randall Freeman helped pour the slab the day after his wife disappeared. It's near an art garden that neighbors said is considered a safe haven for children in the area. They said if a body is found there, it will be a big blow to the community's push toward improvement. 

Keila Freeman disappeared on September 6. Her keys were left in her car ignition and her jeans and debit card were found inside her home. 

Neighbors said they were not surprised to hear that police were digging—in fact, they said they were surprised it took this long. They said police knew about the suspicious concrete for weeks.

“In disbelief,” Freeman’s friend Latonya Herman said. “Shocked to know we are right back at the house we were already familiar with was very concerning.”

Over the past months, Herman and Freeman’s family have been searching constantly, hoping to find Keila.

“It’s really a feeling you can’t describe,” Herman said. “You know, we were out there looking, but did we really want to find something?”

They searched the woods and under bridges, but three weeks ago, Herman said they got a tip from neighbors that led them to the slab of concrete that police tore up on Thursday.

Neighbors climbed ladders and did whatever they could in an effort to get a closer look as police dug in the area.

"It was a lot of police and stuff so I came around to see what it was," Rachel Ellis said. "It's like very scary, like right behind my house."

Just about everyone knew police were looking for the body of Keila Freeman. Neighbors also knew police had been focusing on the area before they showed up with the heavy equipment Thursday. Investigators had been going over the area with dogs for several days. 

"One was at the end of the street and the other two people had the dog going around the slab they tore up," Hannah Bowland, neighbor, said.

After more than 10 hours of digging, investigators found nothing.

“We walked that concrete ground,” Herman said. “We walked the dirt. We walked that whole area.”

Herman said neighbors told the family that Freeman’s husband was at the home with other workers for Binghampton Development Corp. to pour the slab just hours after her disappearance. Binghampton Development Corp. did not answer a request for comment.

“In that moment, something set in to us that we may not find Keila the way we want to,” Herman said.

Herman said they went to police, and that is why construction at the home was stopped.

“It’s heartbreaking to know we could have maybe possibly resolved or found some type of answer then,” she said.

However, Herman said she is happy that police are continuing the search. She hopes family and friends can find some closure soon.

Friends said Keila would never have taken off without her two kids, so they have feared the worst since the beginning. 

"She was just a soft-spoken, nice, one of the nicest people you ever wanna meet," Keila's co-worker Stella Cannon said.

Cannon worked with Freeman and will never forget September 6 when she heard Keila had disappeared.

"My heart just fell, because I knew. I know that Keila would never, ever--she wouldn't have never left her kids," Cannon said.

Cannon said she never heard Keila talk about her husband, but she talked about her kids all the time.

Police said Randall Freeman was caught on surveillance video throwing a molotov cocktail at a home on Germanshire Lane the Sunday before his wife's disappearance. 

Cannon said when she heard Randall was arrested on unrelated charges, she started getting suspicious.

"If he did it, where would he have put that body?" Cannon questioned. "And, when I saw that truck digging, that just...oh that just gave me a sickening feeling in my stomach."

As Cannon stood watching crews dig up the concrete, she struggled with the reality that Keila may be found. 

"I think the family needs closure," she said. "This is just a hard blow that she may possibly be under, buried under some concrete. I know this has to be really hard on the family. Wow. And I just feel for her children."

There is a SkyCop camera directly across from the area where they are digging. It's unclear at this point if investigators saw something in video that brought them out here to dig.

Randall Freeman was in court Tuesday for that arson charge. His case will go the grand jury, but a date for that has not been set yet. He is still in jail on a $500,000 bond.

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