FBI: Killer planned far ahead
The Associated Press | December 08,2012
AP Photo / FBI
This undated handout photo shows a bucket containing gun parts, ammunition and other items discovered at a Parishville, N.Y., reservoir after a man jailed in Alaska admitted to a series of killings. Among his victims were Bill and Lorraine Currier in Vermont.
ESSEX — The Alaska man who killed an Essex couple had buried a murder kit in the woods on the banks of the Winooski River in spring 2009, then dug up the cache two years later and used the weapons in the murders, police say.
Israel Keyes buried a five-gallon orange bucket filled with weapons parts, ammunition, fasteners, wires and a flashlight in a remote corner of the Woodside Natural Area off Vermont 15.
Keyes had admitted abducting and killing Bill and Lorraine Currier from their nearby home, police say.
The FBI later found the weapons at an upstate New York reservoir.
The 34-year-old Keyes was found dead in an Alaska jail Sunday in what authorities said was a suicide. He had admitted killing at least six other people across the country.
Keyes told authorities he planned to strike again if he had gotten away with the murder of an 18-year-old Anchorage barista, the FBI said Thursday.
“He wasn’t going to stop,” FBI spokesman Eric Gonzalez said.
Keyes prepared a body disposal cache in Alaska in the summer of 2011 for a future target, Gonzalez said.
Authorities recovered the cache containing a shovel and two large bottles of Drano from Eagle River north of Anchorage. Gonzalez said the drain de-clogger would speed up decomposition of a body.
Keyes told authorities he killed barista Samantha Koenig and at least seven others over the past decade.
He said he sexually assaulted Koenig after abducting her in February from the coffee stand where she worked. He told authorities he then strangled her and later put her remains in a frozen lake north of Anchorage after drilling a hole in the ice with a chain saw.
Keyes was arrested in Lufkin, Texas, in March after using Koenig’s stolen debit card at ATMs there and in Alaska, Arizona and New Mexico. He was facing a March 2013 trial in Koenig’s death.
Her remains were found in April after Keyes told authorities where to look. The Curriers’ bodies have not been found.
Keyes didn’t identify any other victims or say where the remains were, other than to say four were killed in Washington state and one was killed on the East Coast, with the body disposed of in New York.
The FBI released new details about the discovery of weapons and other items connected to Keyes at an upstate New York reservoir.
FBI spokesman Paul Holstein said an April 18 search in the Adirondacks town of Parishville turned up a bucket containing a silencer, .22-caliber Ruger frame, ammunition and a flashlight, all linked to Keyes. Divers on April 24 found the bolt and barrel of a gun used during the killings of the Curriers. Divers found a gun owned by the Curriers on June 5.
Keyes owned property in the Adirondacks.
Shortly before his arrest, Keyes attended a sister’s wedding in Texas, where he ranted in mid-ceremony about how he didn’t believe in God, Keyes’ mother’s pastor told the Anchorage Daily News in an interview.
Jacob Gardner said Thursday that he was driving north with Keyes’ mother and other relatives from their home in Wells, Texas, to Deer Park in northeast Washington state, where Keyes’ funeral is planned for Sunday. Gardner said it was a convenient spot for family and friends. The pastor said he was preparing a sermon.
Gardner said some of the preaching at the Texas wedding was directed at Keyes.
“We were greatly desirous to see him saved, and greatly desirous to see him denounce his atheism, which he was steadfastly holding to and defending,” Gardner told the newspaper. The wedding “ended essentially with Israel, you know, raging against the Gospel, against God and just breaking down into tears, weeping.
“But he did not repent, and that was the last, what I would call, the last stand of God’s grace.”
Keyes traveled extensively in the U.S., landing at one location and targeting victims randomly hundreds of miles away. Keyes told authorities he robbed several banks and used money he made as a general contractor to pay for his travels.
Koenig was an exception to the distance rule. Keyes had never seen her before but chose the coffee stand because of its location and because it stayed open later than other stands.
Anchorage police said Keyes also targeted others in Alaska before killing Koenig but always backed off before acting.
In May 2011, he focused on a couple at Point Woronzof, a popular park area along the Anchorage shorefront.
Lt. Anthony Henry, commander of the homicide unit, said Keyes backed off at the last minute after police inadvertently arrived during a routine patrol.