Methodical, organized, self-aware, with a gruesome, compartmentalized life.
Although Israel Keyes committed suicide in his Alaska jail cell in December of 2012, investigators are trying to piece together a full picture of his life so they can possibly find the remains of other victims of the serial killer.
Keyes confessed to the murder of four people in Washington and one in New York state, but he would not name those victims or say when he had killed them or where they were buried.
New York Post reporter Maureen Callahan has also been looking into Keyes’ background.
The 34-year-old construction worker is described as a patient, deliberate, methodical man.
Here’s an excerpt from Callahan’s report:
Born in Utah, he had grown up Mormon, and at some point during his childhood his family moved to Washington state, where they lived comfortably.
In 1998, Keyes enlisted in the Army and served for two years, stationed at Fort Hood and in Egypt. In 2007, he relocated to Alaska, where he started his own construction business, living with his girlfriend and young daughter in a white, two-story house on a cul-de-sac in Turnagain, where they liked to entertain friends and family.
On the evening of February 1, 2012, Keyes walked up to a drive-thru espresso stand and asked the lone barista on duty for an Americano, then shimmied his way inside the window. He was wearing a mask and a hoodie and he had a gun, and there’s little chance 18-year-old Samantha Koenig was able to absorb what was happening. Keyes worked in seconds, and before she knew it Koenig was subdued and zip-tied and down on the floor of the shack with Keyes.
They stayed there, like that, for a bit. Koenig’s boyfriend, Duane Tortolani, was due to pick Samantha up at closing time. Keyes had been bored with going after lone targets and had recently begun challenging himself with couples, but something this night made him reconsider. He grabbed Koenig and pulled her up, and though the shack sat adjacent to a six-lane highway and there was little in the way of vegetation or construction or anything, really, that could obscure this armed kidnapping from view, only the shop’s security cameras caught the masked man taking Koenig away.
Keyes was that good, and he knew it.
Two weeks later, the Koenig family had hope: Duane received a text message with directions to a specific site at a local dog park, where he could expect to find a ransom note. He did. On one side was a photo the abductor had taken of Samantha, tied up, with a copy of the Anchorage Daily News dated Feb. 13, 2012 — proof of life. On the other side was a typed-out note, a demand for $30,000, to be deposited directly into Samantha’s account.
The Koenings complied.
By now, all of Anchorage’s 380 cops were on the case, as was the FBI. The ransom note was good news: A demand for money delivered electronically meant the abductor would soon be leaving digital footprints, and just before midnight on March 8, 2012, Samantha’s ATM card pinged for the first time from the Lower 48, from a bank in Willcox, Ariz.
And somewhere in Willcox, an FBI agent got the call, jumped out of bed and raced to that location — where he would find nothing, because just after midnight on March 9, 2012, Samantha’s ATM card pinged again, this time from a bank in Lordsberg, NM, a one-hour drive away.
Surveillance video from both banks showed little. The figure seemed to be a man, but he was wearing layers upon layers of clothing — likely to make himself look heavier — as well as a full-face mask and glasses. Only one vehicle, however, was caught on tape at both locations within this time frame, and so the FBI knew they were looking for a man of average height driving a white 2012 Ford Focus, likely headed east on the I-10 corridor.
On March 13, up in Anchorage, Alaska, Officer Jeff Bell got a call. Electronic alerts had gone out to cops in the south and southwest, and a police officer had spotted a white 2012 Ford Focus in the parking lot of a Quality Inn in Lufkin, Texas. An undercover had since been sitting on that vehicle round-the-clock. The driver was a white male, 30s, average height, average build.
Police were ordered to tail the car and pull it over at the first possible opportunity, and when they did, for speeding, they found Israel Keyes, who had been asked to produce his driver’s license: Alaska. The cops also found Samantha Koening’s ATM card and cellphone, along with the mask, a gun and a dye pack. Keyes had robbed a bank in Texas a few weeks back.
Bell and his partner, Detective Monique Doll, were immediately booked on the red-eye. By the time they reached the courthouse where Keyes was to be arraigned, they had been up for almost 50 hours straight. Bell and Doll walked into the interview room where Keyes was handcuffed and waiting.
“He definitely gave you a chilling feeling,” says Bell, a 17-year-veteran who is also a member of the FBI’s Safe Streets task force and the Anchorage SWAT team. “Detective Doll and I both had that sense — the hair on the back of your neck stands up. We knew Samantha likely did not have a good outcome.”
By LINDA THOMAS