Feb 21 - Serial k!ller Israel Keyes Might Have More Victims
|2 years ago||class of '09 - away - #1|
Serial k!ller Israel Keyes left mark in Dallas area, but to what degree? | Dallas-Fort Worth Crime News - News for Dallas, Texas - The Dallas Morning News
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Just about everywhere Israel Keyes went, he k!lled. And he went a lot of places. Authorities say the confessed serial k!ller traveled thousands of miles crisscrossing the country — even into Canada and Mexico — to leave a homicidal trail that is still being dissected.
Keyes was in North Texas one year ago this month when authorities say he spent Feb. 12-16 driving around Azle, Aledo and Cleburne in a rented car. According to FBI Special Agent Jolene Goeden, on Feb. 16 Keyes robbed a bank in Azle and burglarized and set fire to a house in Aledo. The homeowners were not home, she said.
No murder cases have been connected to him here yet, but one person who has studied Keyes says he doesn’t believe the Army veteran was here on a vacation.
“Wherever Israel Keyes passed through, you can believe someone wound up dead,” said investigative journalist M. William Phelps, star of the Investigative Discovery Network show Dark Minds.
Keyes, 34, committed suicide Dec. 2 in his Alaska jail cell. But instead of closing the book on his 11-year trail of terror, his death — or rather what he confessed in the months leading up to it — simply unleashed the horror that was his adult life.
“He made a number of statements to us that made us think that he did something in Texas,” said Goeden, part of the Alaska-based federal task force investigating Keyes’ crimes. “We definitely all had that impression.”
Keyes told authorities that he hunted and k!lled complete strangers, apparently just for the thrill of it.
“He enjoyed k!lling,” Phelps said. “That’s what serial k!llers do. They think about k!lling 24-7.”
Keyes said he often found his victims in campgrounds, parks, rural unpopulated areas and even cemeteries. He confessed to eight slayings, but Goeden said that based on months of interviews with him, the FBI can link him to 11 murders, and agents believe he’s responsible for many more.
The FBI says he financed his homicidal missions by robbing his victims or banks. He was so methodical that he buried so-called “murder kits” in “strategic places around the country to use in future murders.” The caches — only two of which have been discovered — contained cash, items stolen from his victims, weapons, silencers and other materials.
Keyes was so callous that days after kidnapping and k!lling his final victim last year — 18-year-old barista Samantha Koenig of Anchorage, Alaska — he took a Caribbean cruise while Koenig’s family vainly searched for her.
Keyes’ confessions prompted federal investigators to ask law enforcement officials nationwide to review their unsolved murders to look for links to Keyes
In North Texas, Cleburne police took a hard look at Keyes because he told federal investigators that during his trip through the area last year, his rental car got stuck in a “muddy, rural area” that he believed was near the Cleburne city limits. Keyes had said he also visited the Post Oak cemetery near Glen Rose.
Cleburne Detective Kelly Summey said recently that they checked, but Keyes was not connected to any cases there. Johnson County Sheriff’s Lt. Tim Jones told reporters in January that sheriff’s investigators wondered if Keyes might be responsible for a murder there last February but the lead turned out to be fruitless.
But that doesn’t mean Keyes was crime-free in the area. His mother and sisters attend a fundamentalist church in East Texas, and Keyes said he was often visiting them, including last year when he attended his sister’s wedding.
“If Israel Keyes was in Texas, and there’s a missing woman, or a missing couple, there’s a good chance Keyes was tied to it,” Phelps said.
He studied fellow serial k!llers, including Ted Bundy, and he learned to make up stories so that he could disappear for long periods of time without raising suspicion. His travels to k!ll mimicked Bundy, whose victims stretched from Washington state to Florida.
When Keyes traveled to k!ll, he made himself difficult to track by turning off his cellphone and using cash.
Keyes had a daughter and a girlfriend but apparently never married. He was an honorably discharged veteran who was once stationed at Fort Hood. He was a contractor by trade who did little to attract suspicion.
“He was well-respected. He was reputable. He was known to do good work,” Goeden said. “He was your normal, average businessman.”
The second of 10 children born into a strict religious family, Keyes became an alcoholic and an ardent atheist as an adult.
On his last Texas visit to see his family — they were unaware of his murderous ways — one of his sisters tried to get him to accept Christ. But Jake Gardner, a pastor at the Church of Wells in Cherokee County where the attempted intervention occurred, told a reporter that Keyes tearfully rebuffed her.
“You don’t know the depths of darkness that I’ve gone to,” Gardner recalled Keyes as saying. “You don’t know what I’ve done. I’ve got to drink every day to forget these things.”
Neither Gardner nor Keyes’ relatives could be reached for comment. But Goeden said Keyes willingly confessed to the murders on the condition that his name not be released publicly at the time because he had “some concern for the impact that this would have on his family.” She said that because no one in his family is suspected of involvement in Keyes’ crimes, the agency won’t discuss what Keyes told them about his relatives.
Keyes was captured March 13 near Lufkin by an observant Texas state trooper. He’d used a stolen ATM card a week earlier in Arizona and a security camera captured the image of a white Ford Focus. When the Texas trooper saw a similar vehicle in a hotel parking lot, he followed the vehicle and pulled Keyes over for speeding. When Keyes gave him an Alaska driver’s license, the trooper called for backup.
“I cannot say enough about the Texas Rangers and the law enforcement there in Texas,” Goeden said. “When we were looking for him, all we had was a type of car, no license plate, no physical description. Remember, we didn’t know anything about Israel Keyes.
“He had future plans and things he was planning to do, and he would have not stopped,” the agent said. “If we had not gotten him … he would still be out there k!lling people.”
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Although authorities didn’t know the details of his crimes until Keyes began talking after his Texas arrest, what made him so frightening was that he seemingly had no pattern to his slayings. He said he k!lled at random without regard to a particular race, gender or geographic area.
Goeden said Keyes’ randomness should not be confused with recklessness.
“The biggest surprise to me was how open he was and how detailed he was with the confessions,” she said. “He was very methodical, very detailed. There was a tremendous amount of planning that went into these crimes.”
Two weeks ago, FBI officials in Alaska released copies of handwritten notes found in Keyes’ jail cell after he slashed his wrists and strangled himself with bed linens. The documents had been covered in blood and were illegible until the FBI sent them to a lab.
The rhyming writings provided no additional forensic information for investigators, but they do offer a chilling look into Keyes’ state of mind in his final days.
“You may have been free, you loved living your life, fate had its own scheme, crushed like a bug, you still die. … Family and friends will shed a few tears, pretend it’s off to heaven you go. But the reality is you were just bones and meat and with your brain died also your soul.”
AT A GLANCE / Two cases, three victims
These cases demonstrate how Israel Keyes went about his crimes:
Keyes told authorities he flew from Anchorage, Alaska, to Chicago and visited relatives in Indiana before getting to the Burlington, Vt., area where he spent three days hunting for just the right victims in June 2011.
“He was specifically looking for a house that had an attached garage, no car in the driveway, no children, no dog,” Chittenden County State Attorney T. J. Donovan said at a news conference.
Keyes cut the phone lines of Bill and Lorraine Currier, broke into their home and confronted them in their bedroom at gunpoint. He tied them with zip ties, put them in their car and took them to an abandoned farmhouse. He left Lorraine Currier in the car as he took her husband to the basement and tied him up. When he returned to the car, she had tried to flee, but Keyes caught her and took her to the second floor.
When he went back to the basement, Bill Currier began yelling for his wife. Keyes started slamming the man with a shovel but when Currier wouldn’t get quiet, Keyes shot him dead. He then went upstairs, r*ped Lorraine Currier and strangled her.
Although he readily confessed to k!lling the missing couple, Keyes wouldn’t say where he buried them.
FBI Special Agent Jolene Goeden said the only victim whose body has been found is Samantha Koenig, 18.
After kidnapping her on Feb. 1, 2012, from her Anchorage coffee shop, Keyes forced Koenig to give him her cellphone and ATM code. He sent text messages from her phone to her boss and boyfriend to make it appear she was taking a weekend trip. He then went to her home and got her ATM card from her truck
According to the FBI report: “Keyes then s3xually a.ssaulted Samantha and asphyxiated her.” Hours later, he left for New Orleans to start a pre-planned cruise.
When he returned more than a week later, he used Koenig’s cellphone to pretend she was alive and demand $30,000 ransom. The money was deposited in her account and Keyes began withdrawing cash at banks in Alaska and in the Southwest, including Texas.
Her body was found in a frozen lake near Anchorage.
Authorities continue to search for victims of Israel Keyes. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI.