Serial killer Israel Keyes was arrested in 2012 after the abduction and murder of Samantha Koenig in Anchorage, Alaska, but the police soon learned that Samantha’s case was just the tip of the iceberg in the long list of Keyes’s monstrous crimes.
The arrest of Keyes came about following his carelessness at avoiding detection in the aftermath of killing Samantha. This made the case all the more baffling when investigators learned about the meticulous preparation the killer put into committing at least ten other murders.
The FBI is 100% sure that Keyes murdered Samantha and Vermont couple Bill and Lorraine Currier. However, they suspect he murdered 11 people in total, but so far, they have been unable to identify the other victims.
The cops suspect that Keyes murdered people all over the nation, spanning states such as Washington, Florida, Texas, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont.
Keyes is also suspected of committing numerous sexual assaults, house burglaries, and even bank robberies across the country.
His life of crime spanned about 20 years, from the 1990s until 2012. And when he was finally caught, he proudly admitted that he would have kept murdering people.
Israel Keyes abducted and murdered Samantha Koenig
On February 1, 2012, Keyes abducted 18-year-old Samantha Koenig from a coffee kiosk in a parking lot in midtown Anchorage, AK. Samantha, an employee of the kiosk, was forced into his vehicle at gunpoint. He chained her up in his shed and sexually assaulted her. The following day, Keyes strangled Samantha to death.
The same day, after killing Samantha, he stole her debit card and actually took his family on a pre-planned two-week Caribbean cruise.
On his return to Anchorage, Keyes convinced Samantha’s family she was still alive by sending them a photo of their daughter’s body propped up with her eyes forced open. He demanded a ransom of $30,000.
Samantha’s father put $5,000 into his daughter’s bank account, and when Keyes put her debit card into an ATM to withdraw the money, the cops raced over to catch him. Unfortunately, the police were unable to get there in time, and Keyes managed to get away.
The killer traveled to Texas, where he alerted the authorities to his presence by repeatedly using Samantha’s debit card to pull out cash. The cops learned that Keyes had rented a car in Arizona, and after spreading a description of him and the Ford Focus, he was finally arrested by a Texas Ranger in Lufkin, Texas, on March 13.
In his hired car, the cops found a driving license belonging to Samantha. Intriguingly, they also found a cash dye pack, indicating he had been involved in a bank robbery.
Israel Keyes carefully planned murders with ‘murder kits’
Keyes made numerous mistakes which led to his capture in the Samantha case, which is why it was so surprising for law enforcement when he confessed to committing more murders.
In a series of interrogations over the next few months, Keyes admitted to killing middle-aged couple Bill and Lorraine Currier in Vermont in 2011. And without naming any other victims, he hinted that he’d killed 11 people in total over about 15 years. The police believe it could be more.
Keyes carefully planned his other murders. He killed people entirely at random and in different parts of the country. He would never strike in the same area twice. While traveling, he would switch off his cellphone and only use cash, all of which helped him avoid detection.
The twisted killer had actually buried “murder kits” throughout the country, which consisted of weapons, ammo, and cash. These so-called kits allowed him to avoid traveling with incriminating evidence. He could simply dig up his horrendous tools on arriving in a particular region.
In the case of Bill and Lorraine Currier, he flew into Chicago and then drove 1000 miles east to Essex, Vermont, where he dug up a murder kit he had buried years beforehand. He then targeted the Currier couple completely at random.
Israel Keyes suspected killer in multiple murders
In interviews, Keyes claimed he never targeted children or people who had children. This was supposedly because of Keyes’s own daughter. However, the FBI isn’t so sure he really stuck to his own twisted moral code.
The authorities suspect that Keyes may have been involved in the deaths of two girls, Julie Harris and Cassie Emerson, near Colville, Washington, in 1996 and 1997.
He has also been implicated in three murders in 2007 in Boca Rotan, Florida. They include Randi Gorenberg, who was abducted from a shopping and Nancy Bochicchio and her seven-year-old daughter Joey who were both found shot dead in a parking lot.
Keyes has also been linked to the deaths of Debra Feldman in New Jersey and Jimmy Tidwell in Texas. The FBI suspects he also robbed a bank in 2009 in Tupper Lake, New York, and another one in 2012 in Azle, Texas, just a couple of weeks after he killed Samantha.
Israel Keyes joined the US Army in 1998 and was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, and Fort Lewis, Washington. He also spent time abroad, primarily in Egypt. He picked up a DUI while serving, but otherwise, his service period seemed largely uneventful.
The cops don’t think he murdered anyone during his time in the Army, but they have not ruled out the possibility.
FBI interviews showed Israel Keyes as a cold-hearted killer
During Keyes’s incarceration, the FBI conducted multiple interviews with the serial killer, hoping to learn the true extent of his crimes, so they could identify the victims.
The killer spoke at length, and he discussed a lot of his crimes in great detail. However, he remained evasive and guarded the whole time, only giving the agents snippets of real information.
Keyes ultimately only confessed to the murders of Bill and Lorraine Currier and Samantha Koenig. He never gave any other names. The FBI believes he killed 11 people because he admitted to murdering less than 12, and when asked about his “11 victims,” he did not correct the interviewer.
FBI agents stated Keyes remained in total control during these interviews; he never lost his temper or said something in error. The agents say he seemed to enjoy the cat-and-mouse nature of his interrogations. At one point, Keyes claimed of the interviews, “This is entertainment for me.”
Keyes told the FBI agents that in his early to mid-20s, he realized he was a killer, and he came to terms with this part of his character. In fact, Keyes became so comfortable with his secret serial killer identity that he really enjoyed committing these crimes.
He initially tried to blame his twisted tendencies on satan but soon concluded that it was just the way he was.
Keyes saw himself as being like two different people, one was the law-abiding good guy, but the other was a mastermind criminal. He spoke of his enjoyment when speaking to people generally about crime and relishing that they knew nothing about the monstrous crimes he was capable of doing.
Keyes told the FBI agents, “There is no one who knows me, or who has ever known me, who knows anything about me, really. They’re going to tell you something that does not line up with anything I tell you because I’m two different people, basically. And the only person who knows about what I’m telling you—the kind of things I’m telling you—is me.”
Israel Keyes escaped trial by committing suicide
The FBI had found Keyes to be reasonably cooperative with their inquiries, so they were a little surprised when he committed suicide on December 1, 2012. The killer managed to smuggle a razor blade into his Anchorage jail cell, and through a combination of strangulation and slitting his wrists, he took his own life. He was 34.
The FBI stated that Keyes had wanted something in return for any cooperation. He wished to avoid too much publicity about his case so as not to bring unwanted media attention onto his daughter, and he hoped to avoid being tried in different jurisdictions.
Keyes also wanted the death penalty, and he wanted it quickly, within a year. The cops said he was annoyed about rising media attention in the case, and he became impatient with the slow pace of the process.
At one point, he told a detective, “I’m happy to help, but it’s on my terms. I’m not in this for the glory. I’m not trying to be on TV.”
Rather than sit around in jail for a long period, Keyes decided to end his life on his own terms. FBI Special Agent Goeden said suicide was the last act he could control.
The investigators discovered under Keyes’s cell bed twelve disturbing pictures. Using his own blood, Keyes had drawn eleven human skulls and a pentagram. It is thought that the skulls represented his victims. One of the drawings included the chilling words, “we are one.”
The twisted murderer also left a suicide note, which has been described as an “ode to murder.” The rambling note referenced at least one of his victims, calling them a “pretty captive butterfly” and continuing, “You may have been free, you loved loving your lie, fate had its own scheme, crushed like a bug you still die.”
The note also criticized American society: “Land of the free, land of the lie, land of scheme Americanize! Consume what you don’t need, stars you idolize, pursue what you admit is a dream, then it’s American die.”
The FBI sent the lengthy note for analysis at a lab in Virginia, but they concluded that it held no hidden meanings.
Israel Keyes had an unusual upbringing and showed early signs of being a killer
Israel Keyes was born into a large family in Utah. His parents had been Mormons, but they left that faith and traveled to rural Washington State, where the family lived in a cabin.
The Keyes family were fundamentalist Christians who belonged to the Christian Israel Covenant Church in Steven’s County, WA. This religious sect adhered to white supremacist, anti-Semitic teachings.
Followers are taught that Anglo-Saxons are a superior race and are the true inheritors of Israel. Keyes is thought to have renounced his faith while in his teens, which caused him to become estranged from his family.
From an early age, Keyes was considered a bit of a social outcast. He exhibited violence towards animals and small creatures, causing him to be shunned by many of his peers.
In 1997 or 1998, he violently attacked a teenage girl by the Deschutes River in Oregon. He grabbed her from a beach and dragged her to a campground toilet, where he raped her. He had initially planned to kill the girl, but something stopped him from going through with it.
The FBI requests that anyone with any information on the activities of Israel Keyes should contact them at 1-800-CALL-FBI.