POSTED: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - 10:57am
UPDATED: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - 11:09am
(FBI) — After Israel Keyes  was arrested for the murder of 18-year-old Samantha Koenig in Alaska in 2012, authorities realized that the man they had in custody was a prolific serial killer. Keyes freely admitted as much.
During conversations with investigators , the 34-year-old sometime construction worker revealed the names of two additional victims—along with tantalizing clues about other murders he had committed around the country over a period of years. But last December, Keyes killed himself in his Anchorage jail cell, leaving a trail of unanswered questions and unidentified victims.
Those victims have not been forgotten, however. Today we are releasing new information in the hopes that the public can help us identify others who died by Keyes’ hands. The information includes extensive videotaped conversations with Keyes in jail and an interactive map that contains a detailed timeline of his known movements beginning in 1997.
Israel Keyes’ suicide in jail in December 2012 surprised FBI investigators and members of the Anchorage Police Department working on the case. Since his incarceration earlier that year, he had been talking—apparently enjoying the cat and mouse game with investigators who were trying to get information about his other victims.
In return for the clues he gave, Keyes wanted things as well. “He wanted to avoid numerous trials in different jurisdictions,” said Special Agent Jolene Goeden. “Ultimately, he wanted the death penalty and he wanted it quickly. He didn’t want to sit in jail for a long period of time.”
Although Keyes seemed at times cooperative, Goeden said he was very careful about divulging information and was always in control of what he said. “His crimes were meticulously planned, and our interviews with him were the same in a way,” she said. “I never got the sense that he accidentally told us something or got angry and something flew out of his mouth. My impression was that he always knew what he was going to give us.”
In the end, Keyes exercised the only control he had left by taking his life. “He talked about not wanting to spend the rest of his life in jail, and I know he was getting frustrated with the system and how long things were taking,” Goeden said.
“He gave us a number of clues,” said Special Agent Jolene Goeden in our Anchorage Division. “He talked openly about some of the homicides, but much of what he said only hinted at the things he had done. So we are trying to get information out there about what he did tell us. We are letting the public know the types of cars he rented, towns he visited, campgrounds he frequented. Anything that might spur someone’s memory could help us,” Goeden said.
Apart from Koenig, who was abducted from the Anchorage coffee stand where she worked, and Bill and Lorraine Currier, a middle-aged married couple who were murdered in 2011 in Vermont, Keyes discussed “seven or eight other victims,” Goeden said. “We want to identify them.”
Investigators believe that Keyes killed and buried a victim in upstate New York in April 2009. “He also told us about a couple in Washington state, another victim in that area, and possibly others in surrounding states,” Goeden said.
FBI agents are working with law enforcement around the country to link Keyes to open cases. “If we have a missing person identified in a particular area, we work closely with that local police department to either connect the person to Keyes or not,” Goeden explained. “We have his DNA.”
It’s a painstaking process, made more complicated because Keyes was meticulous about covering his tracks. In the Currier case, for example, he flew from Alaska to Chicago, rented a car, and drove 1,000 miles to Vermont where he searched for victims. He chose the Curriers randomly.
Keyes also left “murder kits” in various locations around the country that contained, among other items, weapons and cash—the money came from bank robberies he committed to support his criminal activities. The caches provided further cover because Keyes didn’t have to risk boarding an airplane with a weapon or using credit cards that could later connect him to a crime in a particular area.
“Although he chose many of his victims randomly, a tremendous amount of planning went into these crimes,” Goeden said. “Keyes enjoyed what he did, and he had no remorse at all. He told us if he hadn’t been caught he would have continued kidnapping and murdering people.”
We need your help. If the videos or map regarding Israel Keyes’ movements spark any memories, or if you have any information regarding Keyes, please contact your local FBI office or submit a tip online.
“That fact that Keyes is dead makes it more difficult for us,” Goeden said, “but the investigation absolutely continues.”