Anchorage — 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 who was raised attending an anti-Semitic, white supremacist church, 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 murder.
“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.