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A final glimpse into bunker, suspected killer’s ‘obsession’

The Department of Natural Resources will begin the process of destroying the "doomsday" bunker built by suspected killer Peter Keller Tuesday, just days after he killed himself inside. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The Department of Natural Resources will begin the process of destroying the “doomsday” bunker built by suspected killer Peter Keller Tuesday, just days after he killed himself inside.

Keller, 41, retreated to the remote hideout on Rattlesnake Ridge after authorities say he murdered his wife and daughter in North Bend on April 22. He took his own life inside the bunker Saturday before a tactical team set off small explosives to gain entry.

Reporters were allowed inside the structure Monday to take a final glimpse, and KIRO FM hiked up to the location along with two King County Major Crimes detectives and a representative from the DNR.

The hike was treacherous and steep, as fallen logs and loose earth made it difficult to navigate the terrain. The three-story hideout was built into the side of a ridge and overlooked a small waterfall. It had been fortified with massive logs and parts had been carved into solid rock.

All that remained inside the bunker, after detectives removed more than 100 pieces of evidence, were bottles of soda, vodka, gas cans, tools, a stove, pots and pans, beans, and other survival items.

Blood could be seen on the second level of the bunker, leading down a ladder to where Keller’s body was found. Traces of tear gas were also evident – a tactic that had been deployed repeatedly by SWAT members to encourage Keller to surrender.

“It’s what I imagined,” said Robin Cleary, who was the lead detective on the case and got her first look at the hideout Monday. “It’s really impressive how much work he did here: stripping logs and doing all of this. It’s just amazing: somebody completely determined to escape normal life.”

It was also the first time King County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jesse Anderson saw the bunker.

“It was definitely an obsession. He was consumed with building this,” he said. “All of his energy went into building this.”

The bunker was where Peter Keller planned to live out “the end of the world,” according to detectives, who say he started building it as early as 2004. Family members say Keller had become increasingly reclusive.

About the Author

Brandi Kruse

Brandi Kruse is a reporter for KIRO Radio who is as spontaneous and adventurous in her free time as she is on the job. Brandi arrived at KIRO Radio in March 2011 and has already collected three regional Edward R. Murrow awards for her reporting.

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