A serial killer is typically a person who murders three or more people, usually in service of abnormal psychological gratification, with the murders taking place over more than a month and including a significant period of time between them. — Wikipedia
When you hear the word serial killer, all types of images pop in your head. Some of you may know of Ted Bundy or Wayne Gacy, but you know about these guys because of their capture. What about the ones that haven’t been caught?
How many are out there? Israel Keyes was one of those guys. He was arrested, but no one was looking for him, no one knew that he was out there murdering people, with precision and planning.
Keyes was a meticulous murderer who broke his own rules and lost control. His arrest was his undoing. If he hadn’t lost control, I doubt he would have ever been found.
So who is Israel Keyes? Keyes was born on January 7th, 1978, in Richmond, UT. His parents were devout Mormons and homeschooled their children.
Eventually, the family moved to Washington state and settled in Stevens County, where they enrolled their kids into the Ark, a Christian Identity church known for its racist and anti-Semitic views.
His family became friends and neighbors with the Kehoe family. Israel Keyes was childhood friends of Chevie and Cheyne Kehoe, known racists who were later convicted of murder and attempted murder.
Keyes joined the US Army at 20, he was stationed in Fort Lewis, Fort Hood and in Egypt until he was honorably discharged in 2000. Somewhere in that time, he rejected all types of religion and considered himself an atheist.
Before joining the service, Keyes had already committed a violent crime. Between 1996 and 1998, he had raped a young girl in Oregon when he would have been 18 to 20 years old. He later told FBI agents that he had separated the girl from her friends and raped, but not killed her.
He told investigators that he planned to kill her, but decided not to.
Keyes had set up shop in Alaska by opening up his own construction company. He funded his trips down to the lower 48, by robbing banks in Alaska. Keyes had a Jekyll and Hyde personality and didn’t recognize himself as a serial killer.
According to Keyes, his usual hunting routine would be to fly to some area of the country, rent a vehicle and then drive sometimes hundreds of miles to find victims. He would set up and bury murder kits somewhere in the targeted area – stashing items like shovels, plastic bags, money, weapons, ammunition, and bottles of Drano, to help dispose of the bodies.
His murders kits have been found in Alaska and New York, but he admitted to having others in Washington, Wyoming, Texas, and possibly Arizona.
He would look for victims in deserted areas like in campgrounds, parks, walking trails, or boating docks. He would also target homes with attached garages, no children or dogs, and no cars in the driveways.
Once he committed his murders, he would leave the geographic area immediately.
Israel followed detailed rules when it came to hunting and killing his victims. He planned well ahead of time, taking his time going over details and didn’t kill twice in the same location. On his murder trips, Keyes would shut off his phone and pay with cash. He also had no ties to any of the victims.
For example, he flew to Chicago, rented a car, and drove over one thousand miles to Vermont to kill the Currier’s using a murder kit he buried two years earlier to commit the murders.
Keyes studied and admired serial killers, especially Ted Bundy. They were both methodical and possessive over their victims. But they were different too, Bundy targeted pretty young girls with long hair parted down the middle, while Keyes had no particular victim profile.
Keyes considered his murder sprees as a hobby. As a killer, he was remorseless and made it clear that he liked to kill.
Israel broke his rules as he approached an Anchorage coffee stand February 1st, he told himself that if the person working inside did not have her car, he would only rob the place and leave.
His murderous desires overrode his discipline as he found teenage barista, Samantha Koenig, by herself, he couldn’t help himself, Keyes told police. He dragged her out, into his car, raped her, strangled her, dismembered her, and was eventually arrested for her murder.
“He basically had this rule, this unwritten rule, that he would travel outside and go to great lengths to distance himself from any of his victims,” Doll said. “He told us he was losing control. He was losing the massive amount of self-control that he had.”Doll
Koenig’s abduction broke Keyes’ rules on two levels. First, she was in Anchorage, which was also Keyes’ home. Second, she did not have her vehicle.
He took Koeing to his shed, where he murdered her and left her body for two weeks as he went on a two-week cruise. After his cruise, he dismembered the body and threw it in Matanuska Lake north of Anchorage.
A month later, Keyes used Koeing’s ATM card in Texas. The camera in the ATM captured a picture of the rental car Keyes was driving, linking him to the card and the murder. He was arrested in Lufkin, Texas, on March 16th, 2012.
After his capture, Keyes was sent back to Alaska and charged with the kidnapping and murder of Samantha Koenig.
While awaiting trial, Keyes was interviewed for more than forty hours by Anchorage detective Jeff Bell and FBI Special Agent Jolene Goeden. Israel wasn’t very cooperative, but after a while, he started confessing more and more about his eleven-year murder spree.
“There were just times, a couple of times, where we would try to get a why,” said Bell. “He would have this term; he would say, ‘A lot of people ask why, and I would be, like, why not?’ ”Bell
Simple reason Keyes enjoyed killing, and he was good at it.
Trail of Murders
Keyes confessed to the murders of four people in three different incidents in Washington state. He killed two individuals, and he kidnapped and killed a couple. Keyes didn’t provide any names. He probably knew the names, because he liked to return to Alaska and then follow the news of his murders on the Internet.
He also killed another person on the East Coast. He buried the body in New York but murdered the person in another state. He would not give Bell and Goeden any other details of that case.
However, in trying to piece together a timeline of Keyes’ activities, the FBI released a list of 35 trips that Keyes made across the country from 2004 to 2012, in hopes that the public and local law enforcement agencies could match up bank robberies, disappearances and unsolved murders to times when Keyes was in the area.
On December 2nd, 2012, Israel Keyes committed suicide by slitting his wrists and hanging himself with a bedsheet. There was a blood-soaked, four-page letter written on yellow legal pad paper in both pencil and ink. It was hard to read and was later enhanced by the FBI lab.
There were no more confessions or details found in the “creepy” Ode to Murder letter, written by a serial killer who loved to kill.
Keyes is one serial killer who operated under the radar. No one was looking for him. He was able to kill to his delight.
About 115 serial killers are dating back to the 1970s in the United States, whose crimes have never been solved. That estimate comes from Kenna Quinet, a criminologist at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
According to research by psychology professor Mike Aamodt at Radford University in Virginia, there are likely about 30 active serial killers operating in the United States as of 2015, and Keyes was one of these serial killers.