ANCHORAGE, Alaska, - A confessed
serial killer from Alaska who hid in plain sight and whose crimes
went undetected for more than a decade, was ultimately caught
after he gave in to his compulsions and struck close to home.
Israel Keyes, in jail since March for the
kidnapping and murder of 18-year-old coffee stand server Samantha
Koenig in Anchorage, Alaska, confessed to that and other violent
crimes. Then guards found him dead on Dec. 2 after he committed
suicide by cutting his wrists and choking himself with a bed
sheet. He was 34.
Keyes, a U.S. Army veteran, lived a quiet life
in one of Anchorage's best neighborhoods, doing well-regarded
handyman work for unsuspecting customers. He had been due to go on
trial in March for Koenig's death, and investigators believe he
killed eight to 11 people, if not more.
A picture of Keyes' double-life emerged from
his own words -- authorities released excerpts from 40 hours of
interviews with investigators to reporters -- and from interviews
and news conferences given by investigators, who said they
believed his confessions were sincere.
"Everything that he told them has been borne
out," Lieutenant Dave Parker of the Anchorage Police Department
said on Sunday.
Keyes admitted that he committed numerous
killings, bank robberies and other crimes across the country. He
admitted to plans for more killings. He admitted to several
unreported crimes and acts of cruelty committed before he started
killing people, including the rape of
a teenager in Oregon in the late 1990s and torture of animals when
he was a child.
His suicide ended the revelations and made him
a rarity -- a confessed serial killer who was never convicted of
"It gives us no pleasure to dismiss the charges
against Mr. Keyes, but that's what the law requires," said Kevin
Feldis, the assistant U.S. attorney leading the prosecution.
The criminal investigation will continue
indefinitely, even if there is no prosecution, "because there will
inevitably be many, many unknowns," Feldis said.
Keyes was caught in Texas in March with a debit
card stolen from Koenig, whom he abducted from her coffee stand in
February. Keyes admitted to kidnapping, raping and killing her,
then dismembering her body and dumping her remains in an icy lake
before traveling out of Alaska.
Once in custody, he also confessed to the 2011
killings of Bill and Lorraine Currier of Essex, Vermont, and the
disposal of four bodies in Washington state and one in New York
Only three homicides have been definitively
pinned to him -- those of Koenig and the Curriers -- in large part
because Keyes could not identify victims by name.
His motivation was enjoyment,
said Monique Doll, an Anchorage homicide detective who worked on
the investigation. Throughout his months of jail interviews, Keyes
was utterly unapologetic and remorseless, she said.
"Israel Keyes didn't kidnap and kill people
because he was crazy. He didn't kidnap and kill people because his
deity told him to or because he had a bad childhood. Israel Keyes
did this because he got an immense amount of enjoyment out of it,
much like an addict gets an immense amount of enjoyment out of
drugs," Doll told a news conference.
He also enjoyed staying under the radar,
officials said. He targeted total strangers, avoiding anyone with
any possible connection, traveling hundreds of miles to target
random victims at secluded parks, trail heads and other remote
He broke some of his own rules when he killed
Koenig, abducting her at her workplace on a busy Anchorage street,
where security cameras caught some of his actions, and killing her
at his own house, officials said. Keyes admitted he considered
merely robbing Koenig -- whom he did not know -- and instead gave
in to his compulsions, Doll said.
"In prior cases, he had enough self-control to
walk away from it," Doll said. "But with Samantha, he didn't."
Koenig's case dominated local news, and
supporters raised a reward fund, held candlelight vigils and gave
self-defense lessons to coffee stand servers.
Keyes got a thrill from following the news
coverage, so long as his name was not linked to the case,
investigators said. When he was identified by a Vermont television
station in the s u mmer as the suspect in the murder of the
Curriers, he became so angry he stopped speaking to investigators
for two months.
WHITE SUPREMACIST BACKGROUND
Keyes grew up in Washington state in a
fundamentalist Christian family that, in the past, attended a
white-supremacist, anti-Semitic church but later moved out of the
region and became affiliated with other congregations, according
to the Southern Poverty Law Center civil rights group.
Keyes served in the U.S. Army for three years,
including a brief stint in Egypt, and was discharged from Fort
Lewis Army Base in Washington state in 2001. In his interviews, he
said he was anxious for his military service to end so that he
could start murdering people, Feldis said.
He moved to Alaska in 2007 and lived with his
daughter and a girlfriend in Anchorage's Turnagain neighborhood,
near many of the city's most prominent citizens, top attorneys and
law-enforcement officials, operating a one-man contracting
"He was well-known in Anchorage as a really
good handyman," said state Senator Hollis French, who lived around
the corner from Keyes.
All the while, Keyes said in his interviews, he
was "two different people."
"There's no one who knows me or who has ever
known me, who knows anything about me, really," Keyes said in one
of the interviews.
Keyes told authorities he almost killed a young
couple and an Anchorage police officer at a beach overlook, about
a month before killing the Curriers in Vermont.
Keyes said he was hiding in the park with a gun
and a silencer and ready to ambush his victims; he wanted to test
the silencer that he would later bring to the East Coast on his
trip to kill the Curriers. He stopped when a second police officer
arrived on the scene.
"It could have got ugly, but fortunately for
the cop guy, his backup showed up," a chuckling Keyes said one
interview. "I almost got myself into a lot of trouble on that
The silencer wound up in a stockpile of murder
supplies that Keyes stashed in upstate New York, near a home he
owned there. Keyes admitted to placing several such caches around
the country, investigators said.
Officials have found two so far -- the New York
stockpile and one in the Anchorage suburb of Eagle River that
contained a shovel and bottles of liquid clog remover, material
for concealing a body and speeding decomposition.
Until he was arrested, Keyes' plan was to leave
Alaska this year and work as an itinerant contractor making
repairs in hurricane-struck areas of the United States, Feldis
"That would allow him to move from place to
place and commit murders," Feldis said.
Serial killer caught in Alaska would only
say 'why not' when asked for motive
By Mark Thiessen - Associated Press
December 8, 2012
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Confessed serial killer
Israel Keyes admitted he enjoyed killing people, but couldn't or
wouldn't give investigators a more meaningful answer when quizzed
why he did it.
"There were just times, a couple of times,
where we would try to get a why," said Anchorage Police officer
Jeff Bell, who helped interrogate Keyes for hours.
"He would have this term, he would say, 'A lot
of people ask why, and I would be, like, why not?'" Bell said.
Keyes confessed to killing eight people across
the United States, but alluded to additional murders, FBI Special
Agent Jolene Goeden and Bell told The Associated Press.
"Based on some of the things he told us, and
some of the conversations we had with him, we believe the number
is less than 12," Goeden said. "We don't know for sure. He's the
only one who could have ultimately answered that."
They may never know the true number.
Keyes slit his wrist and strangled himself with
bedding Sunday at the Anchorage Correctional Facility. He was
facing a March trial on federal murder charges in the kidnapping
and death of an 18-year-old Samantha Koenig, who was abducted from
an Anchorage coffee stand Feb. 1.
He also wasn't going to stop. Authorities said
he had weapons caches or body disposal kits stashed across the
One such disposal kit was found north of
Anchorage. It included a shovel, plastic bags and bottles of
Drano, which he told authorities would speed the decomposition of
A murder kit found in upstate New York had
weapon parts, a silencer, ligatures, ammunition and garbage bags.
Keyes said other murder kits are hidden in
Washington state, Wyoming, Texas and, investigators believe,
somewhere in the Southwest, possibly Arizona.
Goeden and Bell conducted up to 40 hours of
interviews with Keyes after his March arrest in Texas. During that
time, Keyes confessed to killing Koenig, along with Bill and
Lorraine Currier in Vermont, and five other people — although
details for those victims were scarce.
The interviews also revealed Keyes' motivation,
which was simple, Goeden and Bell said.
"He enjoyed it. He liked what he was doing,"
Goeden said. "He talked about getting a rush out of it, the
adrenalin, the excitement out of it."
Keyes also liked seeing coverage of his crimes
in the media, and he appeared to get a thrill out of talking about
some of them with investigators, Goeden and Bell said.
His crimes started small with burglaries and
thefts — until the urge escalated to murder.
Bell said Keyes told investigators the first
violent crime he committed was a sexual assault in Oregon, in
which he let the victim go.
"He planned on killing her but didn't," Bell
Keyes said the rape occurred sometime between
1996 and 1998 along the Deshutes River near Maupin, Ore., after he
got the girl away from her friends. The girl was between the ages
of 14 and 18, and would be in her late 20s or 30s now. No police
reports were filed, and the FBI is seeking more information on the
Of the five other murders Keyes confessed to,
four were in Washington state and one occurred on the East Coast,
with the body disposed of in New York.
In the case of the Curriers, authorities say
Keyes flew from Alaska to Chicago on June 2, 2011, rented a car
and drove almost 1,000 miles to Essex, Vt.
There, he carried out a "blitz" style attack on
the Curriers' home, bound the couple and took them to an abandoned
house. Bill Currier was shot, and his wife was sexually assaulted
Keyes immediately returned to Alaska, and
followed the case on his computer by monitoring Vermont media. The
couple's bodies were never found after the house was demolished
and taken to a landfill.
Leaving the area shortly after a murder was a
familiar tactic for Keyes. After he abducted Koenig, he took her
to a shed at his Anchorage home, sexually assaulted her and
Keyes then left the next day for a two-week
cruise, storing Koenig's body in the shed. Upon his return, he
dismembered the body and disposed of it in a lake north of
Anchorage. He was later arrested in Texas after using Koenig's
Koenig was his only known victim in Alaska.
Goeden and Bell said he never explained why his broke his own rule
of never killing anyone in the town where he lived because it's
easier to be connected to such a killing.
The only mistake Keyes said he made was letting
his rental car be photographed by an ATM when withdrawing money in
Unlike his earlier killings, the deaths of the
Curriers and Koenig received a lot of news coverage.
"He was feeding off the media attention in the
end," Bell said.
That wasn't the only change. His time between
murders was growing shorter.
"He talked about that time period in between
crimes, that over the last few years, that became quicker," Goeden
During their interviews, Keyes was willing to
talk about the Koenig and Currier killings since he knew
authorities had evidence against him.
"It was chilling to listen to him. He was
clearly reliving it to a degree, and I think he enjoyed talking
about it," Bell said of the Koenig and Currier deaths. But in the
other cases, Keyes wasn't as forthcoming because he knew
investigators had little on them.
Keyes, a construction contractor, told
investigators that they knew him better than anyone, and that this
was the first time he'd ever spoken about what he called his
"A couple of times, he would kind of chuckle,
tell us how weird it was to be talking about this," Bell said.
Even though he was talking to investigators,
Keyes didn't want his name made public in any of the other
investigations, especially the Curriers, because of the fallout of
publicity. He threatened to withhold information if his name got
"If there was nobody else that he was concerned
about, I think he wanted his story out there. He wanted people to
know what he did," Goeden said. "What he was worried about is the
impact that was going to have on the people that cared about him
and were close to him."
Keyes will be buried Sunday in Washington
Details in Alaska Serial Killer Death
By Rachel D'Oro - Associated Press
December 5, 2012
A security video showing the abduction of an
Alaska barista is unnerving on its own, but it only hints at the
horror ahead for the 18-year-old woman.
Samantha Koenig would soon be sexually
assaulted and strangled after she was kidnapped from an Anchorage
coffee stand, her body left in a shed for two weeks while her
killer went on a cruise. After he returned, Israel Keyes
photographed Koenig for a ransom note and then dismembered her
Those details were released by the FBI on
Tuesday, two days after Keyes was found dead in his Anchorage jail
cell in an apparent suicide. It’s the most comprehensive account
yet of a crime at the hands of a man who confessed to the slaying
and told authorities he killed at least seven other people across
the country over the past decade.
“These details are being provided both to fully
explain the courage and resolve Samantha displayed in the final
hours of her life, as well as in the hopes that the release of
additional details will help investigations of other murders
committed by Israel Keyes,” the FBI said in a statement.
Once home from his trip, Keyes posed Koenig’s
body to make it appear she was still alive and took a Polaroid
photo of her tied up, along with a newspaper dated Feb. 13 — 12
days after the abduction from a coffee stand, according to the
FBI. Keyes later typed a ransom note demanding $30,000 from
Koenig’s family on the back of a photocopy of the photo and sent a
text message to the woman’s boyfriend on her cellphone with
directions where he’d left the note at a local dog park.
Keyes dismembered Koenig’s body and disposed of
the remains in a frozen lake north of Anchorage after he cut a
hole in the ice with a chain saw, authorities said.
Keyes, 34, was arrested in March in Texas,
after using Koenig’s stolen debit card at ATMs there and in
Alaska, Arizona and New Mexico. He was facing a March trial in
After his arrest, Keyes confessed to killing
Koenig and at least seven other people. His other known victims
were Bill and Lorraine Currier of Essex, Vt., who disappeared in
June 2011. Keyes told authorities he also sexually assaulted and
strangled Lorraine Currier.
The couple’s bodies have not been found.
Keyes did not identify the other victims or say
where their remains were, other than that four were killed in
Washington state and one was killed on the East Coast with the
body disposed of in New York. Keyes had lived in Washington state
and had property in upstate New York.
He told one of the lead FBI investigators in
the case that his first victim was a teenage girl in Oregon that
he sexually assaulted but did not kill, the Anchorage Daily News
reported. FBI special agent Jolene Goeden told the newspaper that
Keyes admitted that he was a teen at the time and that “he had the
intention, he said, of killing her but but did not. And he did let
Also Tuesday, authorities released video
footage of Keyes abducting Koenig, caught by a surveillance
camera. Another video sequence shows him returning for Koenig’s
cellphone late that night, leaving Koenig bound in his truck,
followed four minutes later by a man identified by the FBI as
Koenig’s boyfriend, who was looking for her. Keyes would use the
cellphone to send text messages to the boyfriend and coffee stand
owner that purported to be from Koenig saying she had a bad day
and was leaving town for the weekend.
In the first video sequence, Keyes walks up to
the small coffee stand and orders an Americano coffee, which
Koenig makes. He then pulls out a gun and Koenig is then seen
putting her hands up several times. At some point, Keyes makes her
turn off the light. The light switch was close to a panic button,
but Koenig never pushed it, probably because she was too afraid,
Keyes then climbs into the kiosk and, police
said, used zip ties to bind Koenig’s hands behind her back before
leading her out. He told Koenig he would let her go if her family
paid a ransom, but that was never his intention, police said.
“He knew all along he was going to kill her,”
Anchorage homicide Detective Monique Doll said.
Police said Keyes removed the battery from
Koenig’s cellphone to avoid being tracked.
Koenig’s body was recovered from the lake in
April after Keyes told authorities of its location.
Another video shows a man identified as Keyes
getting out of a white pickup truck parked in a nearby parking lot
just before the abduction took place, and returning with another
person police said was Koenig. The FBI said Koenig broke away at
some point and Keyes chased her, tackled her to the ground, and
pointed his gun at her, saying she should not do anything to make
him kill her.
Police said a license plate, green toolboxes
and a ladder rack had been removed from the truck before the
abduction, then reinstalled afterward so Keyes could disguise the
In the police investigation, the vehicle
appeared twice in a list of 750 local white trucks of the same
kind, but police scratched it off the list of possibilities
because it looked so different.
Authorities said Keyes traveled extensively in
the U.S., landing at one location and targeting victims randomly
hundreds of miles away. He had never seen Koenig before, but chose
the coffee stand because of its location and because it stayed
open later than other stands
Keyes told authorities he robbed several banks
and used money he made as a general contractor to pay for his
In the Koenig case, he stuck to his own town.
“He broke his own rule,” Doll said.
Alaska suspect linked to Vermont killing, 5
December 4, 2012
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Israel Keyes, in jail
for the killing of an Alaska barista, gradually began confessing
to investigators that he had killed others: a couple in Vermont,
four people in Washington state, someone in New York.
But he was slow to come forward with details,
warning investigators he would stop talking if his name was
"He was very, very, very sensitive to his
reputation, as odd at that sounds," Anchorage Police Chief Mark
Mew said. "We had to keep things extra quiet in order to keep him
talking with us."
Keyes committed suicide in an Alaska jailhouse
Sunday, leaving behind an incomplete picture of a loner who
traveled the country for more than a decade, picking victims at
random and methodically killing them. Officials believe there are
more victims in other states, but they may never know who they
Authorities wouldn't say how Keyes killed
himself, only that he was alone in his cell. They also did not say
whether he left a note.
"We're going to continue to run down leads and
continue our efforts to identify his victims so we can bring some
closure to the families," said Mary Rook, the FBI supervisor in
While under arrest in connection with the
disappearance of 18-year-old barista Samantha Koenig, Keyes
confessed to the deaths of Bill and Lorraine Currier, of Essex,
Vt., who disappeared in June 2011, authorities said. Keyes
confessed to other killings without identifying the victims or
saying where their remains were located.
The FBI said Monday that Keyes is believed to
have committed multiple kidnappings and murders across the country
between 2001 and his arrest in March, often flying to an airport,
then driving hundreds of miles before targeting victims.
In interviews with investigators, Keyes
detailed extensive planning, including burying caches of weapons
at various points across the United States. The FBI says it
recovered weapons and items used to dispose of bodies from hiding
places just north of Anchorage and Blakes Falls Reservoir in New
Keyes told investigators he scoped out
potential victims at remote locations including campgrounds and
cemeteries. He said few of his earlier cases received media
attention until the Currier case, telling investigators that one
victim had been found but incorrectly labeled as accidental. The
FBI says it does not have a name or location in this case.
Keyes also told authorities he robbed several
banks to pay for his travel, using money he made as a general
contractor as well.
"There's no indication that he was lying," FBI
spokesman Eric Gonzalez said, adding that Keyes' DNA has been put
in an FBI database available for other law enforcement agencies to
use in their own investigations.
Also on Monday, officials at a news conference
in Vermont said Keyes described details of the Curriers killings
that had not been released publicly.
Authorities said Keyes flew from Alaska to
Chicago, then drove to Vermont and picked the Curriers, a couple
in their 50s.
He broke into their home and, in their bedroom,
Keyes told police, he bound them with zip ties, forced them into
their car and drove them to an abandoned house, where he shot Bill
Currier with a gun he brought from Alaska, and then sexually
assaulted and strangled Lorraine Currier.
Keyes told investigators he chose the Curriers'
home because it had an attached garage, no evidence of children or
a dog, and the style of the house clued him in to the probable
location of the master bedroom.
Keyes previously lived in Washington state
before moving to Alaska in 2007 to start a construction business.
He also owned property in upstate New York, near the Canadian
Ayn Dietrich, a spokeswoman for the FBI in
Seattle, said agents are reviewing unsolved murders across the
state to determine whether Keyes might have been responsible.
The FBI has consulted with behavior specialists
to develop insight into Keyes' personality.
Their analysis is incomplete, but they know he
was a loner who didn't have a clear pattern in selecting victims,
who varied in gender and age.
Keyes told investigators that he was "two
"The only person who knows about what I'm
telling you, the kind of things I'm telling you, is me," he said,
according to a March 30 police recording released by the FBI
Authorities described Keyes as methodical, in
the Currier case taking days to find the perfect victim. He was
also thorough in disposing of victims' bodies. Only Koenig's body
has been recovered.
The FBI contends Keyes killed Koenig less than
a day after she was kidnapped. Her body was recovered April 2 from
an ice-covered lake north of Anchorage. Her disappearance gripped
the city for weeks.
A surveillance camera showed an apparently
armed man in a hooded sweat shirt leading her away from the coffee
stand. Koenig's friends and relatives set up a reward fund and
plastered the city with fliers.
Prosecutors said Keyes stole the debit card
from a vehicle she shared that was parked near her home, obtained
the personal identification number and scratched the number into
After killing Koenig, Keyes used her phone to
send text messages to conceal the abduction. He flew to Texas and
returned Feb. 17 to Anchorage, where he sent another text message
demanding ransom and directing it to the account connected to the
stolen debit card, according to prosecutors.
Keyes made withdrawals from automated teller
machines in Alaska, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas before his
arrest in Texas, according to prosecutors. He was charged with
kidnapping resulting in Koenig's death. Keyes could have faced the
death penalty in her case.
Koenig's family said there was no apparent
previous connection between the teenager and Keyes. Reached by
phone Sunday, Koenig's father, James Koenig, declined to comment
on Keyes' death.
Marilyn Chates, Bill Currier's mother, said
police contacted her some time ago to tell her about Keyes'
confession and to tell her that they believed the couple's killing
was random. Authorities called Chates on Sunday to tell her of
"After some thinking, our family has been saved
the long road ahead — trials, possible plea agreements and
possible appeals — and perhaps this was the best thing that could
have happened," she said.
Ring reported from Burlington, Vt., and
Associated Press writers Mark Thiessen in Anchorage, Alaska,
Rebecca Miller n Philadelphia and
Lisa Rathke in Montpelier, Vt., contributed to this report.
Israel Keyes dead in apparent suicide;
suspected in Lower 48 deaths
By Lisa Demer - Anchorage Daily News
December 2, 2012
ANCHORAGE — Israel Keyes, accused in the
kidnapping and killing of 18-year-old Samantha Koenig, was found
dead Sunday morning in an apparent jail suicide, and he is
suspected in at least seven other deaths outside Alaska,
At a hastily called press briefing Sunday,
authorities announced his death and made a series of startling
revelations, starting with the fact they believe Keyes was a
serial killer. The U.S. attorney for Alaska, the top FBI agent
here and Anchorage's police chief all spoke, as did those directly
working the Keyes case. They disclosed that Keyes had talked
repeatedly to investigators.
His killings may date back a decade or longer,
the FBI said at the briefing in the U.S. Attorney's office in
Anchorage. His victims all appeared to be strangers to him, prey
from random encounters. And investigators suspect he killed more
than the eight they've zeroed in on. He'd fly someplace, rent a
car, then drive hundreds of miles away, the FBI said. While he
stole from Koenig using her ATM card, and confessed to bank
robberies in Texas and New York, his motive did not appear to be
financial, authorities said.
Keyes told investigators he killed Koenig, a
Vermont couple and five others, Karen Loeffler, U.S. attorney for
Alaska, said. Investigators were able to corroborate enough of
what he said about the deaths of William and Lorraine Currier of
Essex, Vt., to be convinced he was responsible, though they were
not able to find the couple's bodies, Loeffler said. Sunday marked
the first time officials publicly connected Keyes to the Curriers,
who disappeared in June 2011.
He also said he killed four other people in
Washington state, where he used to live, and one person in New
York state, said Mary Rook, the FBI special agent in charge of the
Authorities "developed information that he was
responsible for multiple additional victims," Rook said. "To our
knowledge, there are no other victims here in Alaska. They were
all in the Lower 48."
Authorities have not been able to identify the
suspected additional victims, or recover their bodies, she said.
He didn't tell their names, authorities said."
Even though Mr. Keyes is now dead, our
investigation continues," Rook said.
Investigators are analyzing years of financial
and travel records to try to piece together Keyes' actions, she
said. They have consulted with the FBI behavioral analysis unit
based in Quantico, Va., for insight into his personality, she
said. The investigation aims to close unsolved homicide and
missing person cases, and give some measure of peace to friends
and families of the dead, Rook said.
Loeffler described the investigation since
Koenig's Feb. 1 disappearance as "massive."
Keyes was found dead in a cell at the Anchorage
correctional complex Sunday morning, according to Beth Ipsen, a
spokeswoman for the Alaska State Troopers. Troopers were notified
about 6:30 a.m., she said at Sunday's news conference.
Troopers determined Keyes died "of an apparent
suicide," Ipsen said. "I can tell you that he was alone in his
cell. ... We don't suspect foul play." Ipsen said troopers are
awaiting autopsy results before disclosing how he died. Neither
troopers nor the other officials would say if he left a suicide
KEYES TALKED ABOUT KILLINGS
Keyes, 34, a once self-employed carpenter and
an Army veteran, had been jailed since March on federal charges
connected with Koenig's disappearance and death."
What we do know about him is he worked alone,"
FBI agent Jolene Goeden said. "He traveled a lot. He was a loner.
He would go to a state and get a vehicle and he would drive."
Anchorage police and FBI investigators spent
dozens of hours talking to Keyes in the months since his arrest,
they said Sunday. He was continuing to cooperate, talking to
investigators as recently as Thursday, but only letting out bits
of information at a time. His suicide hurts the ongoing law
enforcement investigation, authorities said."
As of this week, we were still obtaining
valuable information from Mr. Keyes," said Kevin Feldis, chief of
criminal prosecutions for the U.S. attorney's office in Anchorage.
Before Sunday, police and the FBI had revealed
little about the cases under investigation, sticking mainly to
"We needed to keep those lines of communication
open," Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew said. "He was very, very,
very sensitive to his reputation, as odd as that sounds. And we
had to keep things extremely quiet to keep him talking to us."
Koenig, a barista, was abducted from Common
Grounds Espresso in Midtown as she was closing up the stand around
8 p.m. on Feb. 1. Mew said Sunday that Keyes took her at gunpoint.
Family and friends organized a massive search. Volunteers posted
fliers with her picture all over Alaska. Hundreds showed up for a
Town Square vigil on Feb. 11 at which a pastor pleaded with her
kidnapper to free her. But she was already dead."
We are convinced both from the confession, and
from corroborating evidence, that Samantha was killed that night,
long, long before anybody received reports of her being missing,"
Surveillance video from the coffee stand showed
a struggle but the images were shadowy and didn't help much, he
said. A second video from the nearby Home Depot parking lot showed
a man and Koenig approaching a white pickup truck, later
identified as his 2004 Chevrolet Silverado, but it was shot from a
camera hundreds of feet away. The video was pixelated, but
investigators were able to pull images from it that eventually
helped convince Keyes to talk, authorities said.
Police determined there were about 3,000
similar trucks of around that year in Anchorage. Traffic officers
were dispatched to check out every one, Mew said.
"That's the magnitude of this investigation,"
Mew said. "If you had a white pickup truck of the right year,
chances are the Anchorage Police Department was watching your car,
and you, during those early days of this investigation."
But that didn't get them to Keyes. Officers
hadn't made their way down the list to his truck before his
Authorities were not prepared to release any
details on Sunday about how he killed his victims or about
evidence they obtained from searches. His former home in West
Anchorage was scoured, as was property he owns in upstate New
York. Among other things, investigators hauled away a shed from
his Anchorage yard.
Mew and Loeffler said they wanted to first talk
to the victims' families. Prosecutors said his sudden death means
they will never get the same sense of justice and finality that a
jury trial or guilty plea would bring.
Some details are known. In February, Keyes
obtained Koenig's debit card -- Mew said he got it from her
boyfriend's truck. He began making withdrawals, first in Anchorage
and then in the Southwest. He texted police a ransom note from
Koenig's cellphone to get more money.
That's why police thought she might be still
alive, Mew said. Anchorage authorities were working with the FBI,
police departments, sheriff's offices, and state law enforcement
all around the Southwest, Mew said.
"We were picking up instant notices of ATM
withdrawals, picking up photographs from the ATMs" and traffic
cameras, Mew said. Keyes' rental car, a white Ford Focus, showed
up in an ATM video.
Agents were up all night following his ATM
trail of cash withdrawals and photos, Anchorage police
investigator Jeff Bell said.
"We were 10 minutes behind him," Bell said.
Investigators aren't sure whether Koenig was
Keyes' last victim. They don't know what all he did in Texas.
SUSPECTED SERIAL KILLER REVEALED
On March 13, a highway patrol officer in
Lufkin, Texas, spotted the Ford Focus and pulled it over. Until
then, investigators didn't know the name of the man they were
looking for, Mew said. Koenig's debit card and cellphone -- with
the battery removed to prevent tracking -- were inside, police
Keyes was charged with financial fraud and
brought to Anchorage. He was interrogated by a team from the FBI,
Anchorage police and the U.S. Attorney's Office, and he confessed
to Koenig's murder, Loeffler said.
He told them he hid her body under the ice in
Matanuska Lake north of Anchorage and used a chain saw to cut a
hole and slip her body into the water, Mew said, explaining for
the first time how police knew precisely where to look. FBI divers
pulled her body out of the lake on April 2.
During that initial confession, investigators
and prosecutors began to suspect that Koenig "was likely and sadly
not Mr. Keyes' first victim" -- and they all had different reasons
for coming to that conclusion, Feldis said. "Which immediately led
us to develop a plan of how we were going to get him to talk to us
about these other crimes, where the investigation needed to go.
That's really what we were doing for the past nine months."
The suspect came across as highly organized and
methodical, Feldis said.
Keyes soon admitted he killed the Curriers,
Feldis said. He told authorities he had hid their bodies in an
abandoned farmhouse in Essex, Vt., but it had been torn down by
the time investigators got that information, Mew said. And he said
there were more.
Koenig's body is the only one authorities have
found so far. Keyes was thorough, Mew said.
None of the officials on Sunday could say what
drove Keyes to kill. Investigators are still researching his
background. They all struggled to understand why he did it,
"This isn't a concrete thing that somebody can
answer," she said.
In a court appearance in May, Keyes tried to
flee the courtroom, vaulting over the rail separating defendants
and lawyers from spectators. Deputy marshals used a Taser to shock
and subdue him. Bell said Sunday that Keyes had noticed his leg
irons were loose, so wiggled his way out. He thought he might get
away, Bell said.
"He told us that if he even had a 1 percent
chance, why not go for it," Bell said.
Keyes' trial for the charges related to
Koenig's death had been scheduled to begin in March. The U.S.
Attorney's Office had not yet decided whether to seek the death
penalty, Feldis said. Keyes never showed remorse, he said.
"This has been massive," Loeffler said. "It
started out massive with the Anchorage Police Department doing
every possible thing they could to find Samantha Koenig under the
hope that she was still alive. And it evolved into massive when we
found out what we had."
Police, FBI revisit Israel Keyes home
By Casey Grove - Anchorage Daily News
ANCHORAGE — Federal agents and city
crime scene investigators on Tuesday closed the quiet dead-end
street in West Anchorage where Israel Keyes lived prior to his
alleged February abduction and slaying of 18-year-old Samantha
Koenig, scouring the home and property for nearly 12 hours.
It is the third search at the light-blue home on Spurr Lane, in
the Turnagain neighborhood, since Texas authorities arrested
Keyes, 34, in March. An FBI spokesman and a federal prosecutor on
the Keyes case both refused to say what triggered Tuesday's flurry
of activity at the home. Neither would comment on what agents were
looking for, or what they found.
"All I can say
is the APD and FBI are executing a federal search warrant," said
FBI spokesman Eric Gonzalez.
Attorney Kevin Feldis said the warrant was sealed. Feldis would
not say when prosecutors filed for the warrant. Such warrants must
be executed within 10 days of a judge approving them, Feldis said.
One neighbor saw federal agents and Anchorage police officers
working in the early morning light with metal detectors, starting
in the driveway and moving to the back of the house. A new,
unpainted Anchorage Police Department crime scene investigation
motorhome could be seen parked in front of the residence. The
agents and officers carried gear from the motorhome and two
unmarked utility trucks, coming and going from the house
throughout the day. FBI agents with cameras snapped pictures of
small items in front of the home's garage and also worked in the
A neighbor said he saw the
investigators at the home before 8 a.m. Most of the police
vehicles were gone by 5 p.m., but one or two remained as the sun
Neighbors said Keyes lived at the
home with his girlfriend, Kimberly Anderson, who is listed in
property records as its owner. The couple mostly kept to
themselves. Anderson has continued to live in the home, but Keyes'
10- or 11-year-old daughter hasn't been seen there since her
father's arrest, neighbors said.
Keyes has been
jailed since March 15.
Police say surveillance
video shows Keyes abducting Koenig, 18, from the Midtown coffee
stand where she was working the night of Feb. 1 and forcing her to
walk away from the hut with him. According to police statements
and a federal indictment filed against Keyes, he allegedly stole a
debit card from someone with whom Koenig shared a vehicle, got a
pass code for the card from Koenig, and killed her later that
night or during the early morning hours the next day.
He then allegedly used the debit card in Alaska to steal money
from the person's account and, after flying out of Alaska, came
back to the state Feb. 17 and demanded ransom money using her
cellphone, the indictment says. Keyes again flew out of Alaska,
and in a series of withdrawals while wearing a mask, stole more
money from the account using ATMs in New Mexico, Arizona and
Texas, the indictment says.
On March 13, six
weeks after Koenig's disappearance, the authorities caught up with
Keyes in Lufkin, Texas. He was arrested after a traffic stop for
speeding -- though federal investigators were already on his
trail, according to a charging document -- and he was soon brought
back to Alaska.
Just after the arrest in Texas,
police wearing helmets and body armor and carrying shotguns
swarmed the Spurr Lane house, serving their first search warrant
there. Among other evidence hauled away, the investigators took a
trailer used for Keyes' one-man carpentry business, Keyes
Two weeks later, on March 30,
police and federal agents again executed a search warrant at the
house and property. With a rented forklift and flat-bed truck,
they seized a shed and drove it to FBI headquarters downtown.
A dive team recovered Koenig's body April 2.
Many details of the investigation of Koenig's abduction and death
-- including any connection of the shed with the case and what led
the authorities to Matanuska Lake -- have never been made public.
Earlier this month, a court filing by prosecutors in the federal
case against Keyes suggested he is the subject of other criminal
investigations. No details were disclosed. Citing anonymous
sources, a Vermont TV station reported in July that Keyes was the
"prime suspect" in the 2011 disappearance of a husband and wife in
Arrest made in Texas in disappearance of
Casey Grove - Anchorage Daily News
An Anchorage man connected to the
disappearance of 18-year-old Samantha Koenig is in jail after his
arrest this week in Texas, but Koenig remains missing, police said
Texas authorities arrested the man,
Israel Keyes, midday Tuesday in Lufkin, Texas after a traffic
stop, police said. He was described in a statement issued by
police here Thursday as "a person of interest" in Koenig's
Police have not revealed the
charges against Keyes, but according to a charging document filed
in Texas federal court, Keyes allegedly committed access device
fraud, a charge typically levied against an individual who uses
another person's bank or credit card to retrieve funds without
permission. Federal and local law enforcement are now asking for
help from the public to find out more information about the
34-year-old self-employed builder, believed to be the lone
employee of his construction company, Keyes Construction.
Keyes' arrest is the only publicly released break in the case
since Koenig vanished about 8 p.m. Feb. 1. Police say surveillance
video shows an armed abductor force her from the Midtown coffee
hut where she worked. Det. Slawomir Markiewicz would not say if
Keyes matched the description of the man seen in the video.
"He's the only person we charged, and the only person of interest.
And the biggest thing at this time is that we haven't found
Samantha Koenig and we don't know her whereabouts," Markiewicz
Two Anchorage detectives have been in
Texas for several days this week working on the case, Markiewicz
said. The detectives will remain in Texas for several more days
serving search warrants, he said. When asked if the arrest meant
police are closer now to finding Koenig -- whom they hope is still
alive -- Markiewicz replied, "Of course."
I've said before, I believe this case will be solved. This is a
step toward that goal, a big step," he said.
Both Markiewicz and Koenig's father, who spoke to the Daily News
through a family friend, said they do not know how Keyes might
have known Koenig.
"We haven't found evidence
linking him to her," Markiewicz said. "We don't know if he knew
her before (she disappeared)."
not comment on whether police believe Keyes was directly
responsible for abducting Koenig or if Keyes was found with any of
A TV station in Lufkin,
Texas, KTRE, first reported Keyes' arrest.
reported Tuesday that diners having an outdoor lunch watched
authorities take a "suspected kidnapper" into custody. A Texas
Department of Public Safety spokesperson told the TV station that
the man -- who police did not identify at the time but is now
known to be Keyes -- was pulled over for a traffic violation."
Investigators said they found enough evidence in the vehicle to
arrest the driver for suspected kidnapping. He was also searched
and then taken into custody for questioning," the KTRE story says.
Markiewicz would not comment on whether Keyes was cooperating with
police or specifically what led the authorities to him.
"It's the result of many hours of police work," Markiewicz said.
"Methodical meticulous police work (by) our officers and
detectives, the local FBI office and the local enforcement in
Texas, screening every lead and following up."
"This wasn't the result of luck."
Just after Keyes was arrested, police
served a search warrant at a house in Anchorage's Turnagain
neighborhood. Markiewicz said Keyes resides at the house on Spurr
Lane, a narrow dead-end street off of Clay Products Drive.
Next-door neighbors Michele Buwalda and Tom McMillan said Keyes
lives there with a woman named Kimberly Anderson, who is also
listed as the owner of the house in city property records. A
daughter they estimated was 12 or 13 lives with the couple at
least some of the time, they said.
said Anderson is not a suspect or person of interest in the case.
Since Keyes and Anderson moved in a few years ago, the couple made
many improvements to what is one of the more modest homes on the
street, Buwalda and McMillan said. Keyes and Anderson were quiet
and polite. They threw a couple of small parties each year, the
"I would be pretty surprised if
he's involved with it," McMillan said.
spent a lot of time running saws and other equipment in the yard
for his construction business, occasionally running afoul of
neighbors because of late evening noise, they said.
Neighbors said that they noticed an unmarked police car idling for
hours on Monday at an intersection a block away. Tuesday morning
police arrived in unmarked cars, neighbors said. Wearing SWAT gear
and carrying rifles, they swarmed the blue house. They took
pictures and seemed to be collecting evidence. Later on that day,
police followed Anderson's car as she pulled into the driveway,
neighbors said. She left with them. Her car and Keyes' truck were
towed. She returned the next day by cab. A crime scene van stayed
parked outside the house until late Tuesday night or early
Wednesday morning, neighbors said.
afternoon, after Keyes' arrest was announced, a truck pulled up to
the blue house, where a trailer with Keyes' business name on it
was parked in the driveway. Two women got out. One of the women
covered her head with a jacket to shield her face.
"WE DON'T KNOW IF SHE'S ALIVE"
website for his business, Keyes lists his work history in
construction. He says he worked in Washington from 1995 to 1997.
After that, the site says he served in the Army for three years,
stationed at Fort Lewis in Washington, Fort Hood in Texas and in
Egypt before he was discharged in 2000. From 2001 to 2007, he
worked for the Makah Tribal Council in Neah Bay, Wash. He moved to
Alaska and started his business in 2007, his website says.
Anchorage police and the FBI are asking that any of Keyes'
associates, anybody who's had contact with him since Jan. 1, or
anyone who may have done business with his company, Keyes
Construction, call 1-800-225-5324 OR 1-800-CALL-FBI.
Markiewicz said that request does not necessarily mean anything
related to the abduction happened at a house or business where
Keyes may have worked. But tips related to Keyes' work might help
the investigation, the detective said.
certainly want to find out what projects he did. Whether he had
access to other residences, whether he had keys to other houses.
Any information like that," Markiewicz said.
Koenig's fate remains unknown and the investigators continue to
treat her disappearance as a highly sensitive abduction case,
"We investigated as if she's
alive. We haven't found her. We don't know what happened with her.
We're concerned. We don't know if she's alive," Markiewicz said.
"We have investigated this from the beginning as an abduction.
Nothing has changed with that. We are very concerned that she
hasn't been seen for six weeks."
"The truth is,
we don't know her whereabouts ... and we don't know what's
happened with her since she was abducted," he said.
Koenig's father, James, declined to answer reporters' questions
Thursday. Family friend Michelle Tasker spoke on his behalf and
said he is asking that anyone with information about Keyes or his
daughter's whereabouts call the FBI or police.
"It's just one more step to getting his daughter back," Tasker
said. "He's exhausted, tired, just wants it over and wants his
daughter home. He's angry and doesn't have anything to say right
now, other than wanting the public's support in answering the
APD's and FBI's requests for information."
Tasker said James Koenig told her he does not know Keyes or
anything about him.
"Never met him, never seen
him," Tasker said. "(He) has no clue what connection (Keyes) may
have to his daughter. To his knowledge his daughter doesn't know