All News & Blogs
Police officer Jeff Bell (left) and FBI Special Agent Jolene Goeden attend a news conference after confessed serial killer Israel Keyes committed suicide at an Anchorage jail.
Mark Thiessen/ASSOCIATED PRESS
View More Images from this story
Visit the Photo Place
Date published: 2/3/2013
ANCHORAGE, Alaska--The suspect, hands and feet shackled, fidgeted in his chair, chuckling at times as he confessed to a brutal killing.
Israel Keyes showed no remorse as he described in merciless detail how he'd abducted and strangled an 18-year-old woman, then demanded ransom, pretending she was alive. As the two prosecutors questioned him, they were struck by his demeanor: He seemed pumped up, as if he were reliving the crime. His body shook, they said, and he rubbed his muscular arms on the chair rests so vigorously his handcuffs scraped off the wood finish.
The prosecutors had acceded to Keyes' requests: a cup of Americano coffee, a peanut butter Snickers bar and a cigar (for later). Then they showed him surveillance photos, looked him in the eye and declared: We know you kidnapped Samantha Koenig. We're going to convict you.
They aimed to solve a disappearance, and they did. But they soon realized there was much more here: a kind of evil they'd never anticipated.
Confessing to Koenig's killing, Keyes used a Google map to point to a spot on a lake where he'd disposed of her dismembered body and gone ice fishing at the same time. He wasn't done talking, though. He declared he'd been "two different people" for 14 years. He had stories to tell, stories he said he'd never shared. He made seemingly plural references and chilling remarks such as, "It takes a long time to strangle someone."
As prosecutors Kevin Feldis and Frank Russo and investigators from the FBI and Anchorage police listened that day in early 2012, they came to a consensus:
Israel Keyes wasn't talking just about Samantha Koenig. He'd killed before.
In 40 hours of interviews over eight months, Keyes talked of many killings; authorities believe there were nearly one dozen. He traveled from Vermont to Alaska hunting for victims. He said he buried "murder kits" around the country so they would be readily accessible. These caches--containing guns, zip ties and other supplies used to dispose of bodies--were found in Alaska and New York.
At the same time, incredibly, Keyes was an under-the-radar everyday citizen--a father, a live-in boyfriend, a respected handyman who had no trouble finding jobs in the community.