Gene Keidel’s murder of wife Dianne, and fire that killed his kids Susie and Kelly, profiled on Evil Lives Here

Gene Keidel mughsot
Gene Keidel, also known as Lyle Eugene Keidel, was sent to prison for murdering his wife, Dianne Keidel. Pic credit: Arizona Department of Corrections

Evil Lives Here: I Watched Daddy Bury Mommy features the case of Dianne Keidel, who was murdered by her husband, Gene Keidel, also known as Lyle Eugene Keidel.

After 10 years of marriage that was filled with infidelity and abortions, Dianne and Gene had become estranged and were, therefore, in the process of getting a divorce.

Gene had also moved out of the house.

On Sept. 17, 1966, the building contractor decided to go out with Dianne and leave their three children in the care of their oldest daughter at their home in Phoenix, Arizona.

The following day, the children found their father asleep on the couch, but their mother was nowhere to be found. That’s when Gene had filed a missing persons’ report.

After Gene filed a missing persons report, he moved back into the house. He then forbade the children from playing in the backyard until he covered it with concrete.

In January 1967, their house burned down, killing two of Dianne and Gene’s children, Karen, 12, and Kelly, 8. Their youngest daughter, Lori Romaneck, survived, but she had been severely burned.

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The couple’s son also survived.

Although the fire was ruled suspicious, there was no investigation to determine what happened.

Lori Romaneck’s letter to the police led to Gene Keidel’s arrest

In 1993, Romaneck wrote a letter to the Phoenix police. She told them that the day before her mother was reported missing, she saw her father hit her.

Then she said he saw her “curled up on the pool deck” while he was digging what she believed to be a hole.

She said she never told anyone about that night because she was afraid of what her father might do. During the trial, Romaneck said, “In spite of my fears, I decided that I’d rather be dead than to keep the secret.”

Police said they went to the family home and analyzed the backyard using “ground-penetrating radar” and “found an anomaly” in an area where Romaneck said she saw her father digging.

Romaneck was five years old at the time.

Upon excavating the area, they discovered skeletal remains with a nylon stocking around the neck. They also found pieces of women’s clothing that appeared to be from the 1960s.

An anthropologist later determined that the remains were those of Dianne.

When Dianne’s death was ruled a homicide, Gene was charged with murder on Sept. 23, 1994.

The following year, Romaneck filed a lawsuit against the city of Phoenix. She claimed that they were negligent in investigating the fire that killed her siblings.

She was rewarded with $5.5 million.

Where is Gene Keidel now?

On April 17, 1995, Gene was found guilty of murdering his wife, and he was later sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole.

Gene claimed that he didn’t have anything to do with his wife’s murder. He said, “I’m innocent. I did not commit this crime.”

Throughout the years, he filed several appeals to overturn his conviction, but they were rejected.

On Dec. 7, 2004, Gene died in prison.

Evil Lives Here: I Watched Daddy Bury Mommy premieres Sunday, January 22 at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.

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