While enjoying bagels and coffee, serial killer, Israel Keyes would tell a sordid tale of crime that range from bank robbery to rape and murder. On July 10, 2012, the serial killer sat in an Alaskan police interview room and told a twisted story of an army veteran who idolized Ted Bundy and killed for the sheer thrill of it. Most importantly, Keyes enlightened law enforcement as to exactly how he chose then stalked and killed his victims, and how he was able to get away with murder for so long.
Born in Richmond, Utah in 1978, Keyes enlisted into the U.S. Army in 1998 and served until 2001. It was during this period that Keyes began his career in murder. Keyes’ first victims were in Washington State in the late 1990s. During the interrogation, Keyes admitted to investigators that he killed four people in Washington State. The claims made are the subject of an active investigation by the FBI as well as police in that state.
Keyes noted that those murders were not his first violent crime. The earliest crime to which Keyes admitted was the violent sexual assault of a teenage girl in Oregon, sometime between 1996 and 1998. He did not elaborate on the details of this incident, he did mention, however, that he did, “let her live.” He began his interview with the line, “When I was smart,” and told officers of the existence of “two” Israel Keyes. The first being the man that people thought that they knew, the likeable easy-going Keyes. The Israel Keyes that was an army veteran, carpenter and father of a 10 year old daughter, is the man that most would claim to know. Then there was the Keyes that was an alcoholic and loner. The Israel Keyes obsessed with the exploits of Ted Bundy; and has claimed to have stalked and murdered at least 12 people in his life time.
Unlike most serial killers, Keyes planned murders long ahead of time and took extraordinary action to avoid detection. He would travel the country; logging tens of thousands of miles to find and stalk potential victims. Keyes viewed America as one big killing field. A carpenter by trade, Keyes admitted that his hobby of murder brought him a rush like nothing else he had ever experienced.
To finance his murderous endeavors, Keyes took to robbing banks. During the interview Keyes admitted to robbing several banks throughout New York State. He confessed to committing at least one murder during his time in New York, though he could not recall the identity, age, or gender of the victim, or when and where the murder may have occurred. Even without the “specifics,” of the case law enforcement consider the admission to be credible. FBI later confirmed that Keyes robbed the Community Bank branch in Tupper Lake, New York in April 2009, giving credence to the possibility of the rest of his story.
Evidence links Keyes to the murders of Bill and Lorraine Currier of Essex, Vermont. The Vermont couple was last seen after leaving work in June, 2011. Keyes reportedly broke into the Curriers’ home on the night of June 8th and tied them up before driving to an abandoned farmhouse, where he shot Bill Currier before sexually assaulting and strangling Lorraine Currier. He then put the Curriers in separate garbage bags; facts are unclear from that point as their bodies have never been found. Keyes actually had identified the couple as potential victims two years earlier. It was during this time that he had hidden a “murder kit,” near their home. When he was ready to kill the Curriers, Keyes, in order to avoid any manner of detection, flew into Chicago and rented a car to drive some 1000 miles to Vermont, retrieved the kit consisting of a hand gun and various supplies and murdered the couple.
Keyes admitted to the investigators that he never had a particular victim type or profile. He would never kill close to his residence. He always killed far from home, and maintained that he had no prior connection to any of his victims. Keyes was adamant about never killing in the same area twice. He giddily told the officers of the thrill he derived by blending into the landscapes of faraway towns and watching potential victims.
Keyes’ last known murder was the kidnapping and murder of 18-year-old Samantha Koenig. A barista in Anchorage, Alaska, Keyes kidnapped Koenig on February 1, 2012, from her place of employment. After the kidnapping Keyes demanded $30,000 in ransom for her return. With no intention of permitting her to live, Keyes sexually assaulted Koenig then murdered her. Leaving Koenig’s body in a shed Keyes departed from his home. When he returned home, Keyes proceeded to dismember Koenig and disposed of her body in Matanuska Lake north of Anchorage. Abandoning hope of the ransom being met, Keyes stole her debit card and other property and left on a cruise out of New Orleans. Police tracked withdrawals from the account as Keyes moved throughout the American Southwest. Ironically, Koenig was not reported missing until February 2 after snow had covered any traces of the abduction.
Law enforcement traced the use of Samantha Koenig’s debit and credit cards through New Mexico, Arizona and into Texas. Keyes was subsequently apprehended in Lufkin, Texas on the morning of March 13, 2012. On April 2, 2012, two months after her disappearance, the body of Samantha Koenig was pulled from the lake. Later that month, Keyes was extradited to Alaska to await trial, scheduled to begin in March, 2013.
During this interview with law enforcement Keyes confessed to the murder of Koenig and other crimes that he’d committed across the country. Facing possible execution, Keyes may have hoped to plea-bargain a life sentence in return for his confessions, though he never requested such an arrangement. He admitted that there was no voice within him that compelled him to kill. He did so out of the sheer thrill of committing the act of murder. Throughout the interrogation, Keyes admitted to at least 12 murders; all of which carry a level of credibility. As he spoke, major cold-case investigations were quietly launched in Seattle and elsewhere. Investigators calculate that within his 15 year “active,” span, he may be the key to solving many more unsolved murders. The truth depths of Israel Keyes’ depravity will never be known. While being held in jail at the Anchorage Correctional Complex on suspicion of murder, Keyes committed suicide on December 2, 2012, via self-inflicted wrist cuts and strangulation.