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Tuesday, June 9, 2020

The Life and Death of Serial Killer Israel Keyes

     Israel Keyes, a 34-year-old part time carpenter and bank robber, traveled around the country randomly targeting women to abduct, rape, and murder. He owned property in upstate New York, and had lived in the states of Washington and Oregon. (As a teenager, he had kidnapped and sexually assaulted an Oregon girl, his first rape victim.) In 2012, the tall, thin killer lived in Anchorage, Alaska.

     At eight o'clock on the night of February 1, 2012, 18-year-old Samantha Koenig was closing up shop at the Common Grounds Expresso coffee stand on Tudor Road. Keyes walked up to the kiosk and ordered a cup of coffee. After Koenig prepared his drink, Keyes pulled a gun and entered the stand where he used zip ties to secure the employee's hands behind her back. A surveillance camera caught Keyes and his victim as they walked toward his white pickup truck parked in the nearby Home Depot parking lot. Using Koenig's cellphone, Keyes sent a text message to her boyfriend saying that she, after having a bad day, was leaving town for the weekend.

     At his home that night, Keyes raped his victim. The next morning, he strangled Koenig to death, put her body into a shed on his property, and flew to Houston, Texas where he embarked on a two-week cruise.

     Keyes flew back to Anchorage on February 17, 2012. He tied up Koenig's body and posed it to make it appear that she was alive. Keyes took a Polaroid photograph of the dead girl that included a newspaper dated February 13. On the back of a photocopy of this picture, Keyes typed a ransom note demanding $30,000 from Koenig's family. He followed up the ransom note with a text message instructing her father to deposit the money in a bank account Keyes could access with Koenig's debit card. The family complied with the kidnapper's demands.

     After making a withdrawal from the Koenig bank account, Keyes dismembered Koenig's body and hauled the remains to Matanuska Lake north of Anchorage. Using a chainsaw, he cut a hole in the ice and slipped the body parts into the water.

     On March 6, 2012, Keyes flew from Anchorage to Las Vegas where he withdrew more money from the ransom account. From Nevada he traveled to Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Later that month, police in Lufkin, Texas arrested Keyes when he used Samantha Koenig's debit card to take out more ransom money. The police also seized the disguise props Keyes had used when making his ransom withdrawals. Keyes also possessed several rolls of cash.

     While in custody at the Anchorage Correctional Facility, Keyes admitted kidnapping, raping, and murdering Samantha Koenig. On April 2, 2012, divers recovered her remains from Matanuska Lake. Keyes also confessed to having kidnapped and murdered Bill and Lorraine Currier (he raped Lorraine) in June 2011. (Their bodies were not recovered.) In the course of discussing his life as a serial lust killer, Keyes took credit for the rape and murder of five other women whose names he either didn't recall or chose not to reveal.

     Scheduled to be tried for Samantha Koenig's murder in March 2013, Keyes said he planned to kill himself long before his trial. As a result, officials at the correctional facility placed Keyes on suicide watch. (Keyes was one of 23 inmates in the jail's segregation unit where the prisoners did not have cellmates.) In August 2012, Keyes talked the psychiatric staff at the jail into taking him off suicide watch. After that, a guard checked Keyes' cell every 30 to 45 minutes.

     During the early morning hours of Sunday, December 2, 2012, Keyes cinched one end of a sheet around his neck and tied the other end to his ankle so that when he extended his leg, the sheet tightened around his neck. He climbed into his bunk, and using a razor blade attached to a pencil, slit his left wrist. During the night, the guard checking on his cell thought the inmate was sleeping.

     The next morning at six, when the guard couldn't rouse Keyes out of bed, the prison authorities discovered that the prisoner had committed suicide. Since inmates were required to return razors after shaving, no one was sure how Keyes had come into possession of the blade.

     Israel Keyes, without the freedom to rape and murder women, had no reason to live. Instead of waiting around ten years for the state to kill him, Keyes decided to execute himself. By committing suicide, this killer also expressed the sociopath's contempt for society, the law, and his victims. 


  1. Interesting story and I'm glad justice was served and the tax payers a few dollars. However for the victims and their families I don't know that a criminal of this nature, who chooses this way out, gives them the closure they would feel being present at his execution? I don't know what the FBI's official estimate on possible active serial killers nationwide is but I tell people all the time I believe there are a lot more than most people realize. If these killers have no obvious "signature" many times they may be easily overlooked by local law enforcement.

  2. What an evil, evil man. His first rape in high school! Shocking to think of all the years he operated before he got caught, almost twenty years. He seemed like a monster the way, he raped, killed and then went on vacation. Now only that, he came back and then coldly and methodically continued to exploit the situation for all it was worth. No conscience whatsoever! It does feel like justice that he is dead, whether by his own hand or the state it does not matter.

  3. He isn't dead. Why hide that fact?

    1. Of course he's dead. Why would you think otherwise?

  4. Maybe he faked his own death...

    Nope, not really. Can't get much deader. I think he's as dead as Kelsey's nuts. Whatever that means!