An Anchorage man who owns property in Constable in Franklin County is jailed in Alaska on charges that he murdered an 18-year-old woman and extorted a ransom from her family. But he is not just an accused murderer; some, including law enforcement, believe he could be a serial killer.
Israel Keyes, 34, was arrested in March in Texas, extradited to Alaska and subsequently charged with the Feb. 1 murder of 18-year-old Samantha Koenig, who worked as a barista in Anchorage at the time of her death. Alaska-based NBC affiliate KTUU reported April 2 that her body was discovered in a lake near Anchorage that same day.
Keyes is also a suspect in a double homicide in Vermont in 2011, and could be under the microscope for another 2011 murder in New Hampshire.
Franklin County District Attorney Derek P. Champagne said he had never heard of Keyes and does not believe there are unsolved murders in the county to which Keyes could be linked.
Our office has had no contact with him and neither has state police, Mr. Champagne said Thursday.
Jefferson County District Attorney Cindy F. Intschert said she is looking into the question of whether her office or area law enforcement has any information or suspicions about Keyes.
St. Lawrence County District Attorney Nicole M. Duvé was unavailable for comment.
Clinton County District Attorney Andrew J. Wylie referred a reporter to Mr. Champagne.
Essex County District Attorney Kristy Sprague did not immediately return a request for comment.
A Facebook page, Have You Ever Met Israel Keyes? Possible Serial Killer, is tracking the investigation. The page administrators include Ms. Koenigs father, James Koenig of Anchorage, and Peggy Giles, of Valdez, Alaska. She said Keyes was raised in an Amish family and was one of nine siblings, but Alaska-based CBS affiliate KVTA reported March 19 that one of Keyess childhood baby sitters, who was not named, said he was raised in a Mormon family.
They said they have done research on Keyes and passed their findings on to the FBI.
Were trying to get a timeline together ... and match his whereabouts up with other missing persons, Mr. Koenig said. The Facebook group said Keyes may be responsible for a slew of killings, possibly going back to 1996.
According to Franklin County real property records, Keyes has been paying taxes on the 10-acre parcel at 511 Poplar St. in Constable since Oct. 23, 1997. The address listed for Keyes in the real property records is the same as is listed in a Yahoo! Local entry for his Anchorage contracting business, Keyes Construction. The business is named in numerous recent Alaskan media reports about the Koenig murder.
Willard and Bonnie Patnode, who live just down the road from the Keyes house in Constable, said they recall only an Amish family with a couple of children living there for a very brief stint in the summer of either 2008 or 2009. They could not recall the exact time frame.
They werent there a month and they moved right on, Mr. Patnode said. He said they would wave at the family as they passed in their horse and buggy, but had no other contact with them.
When shown Keyess picture, both Patnodes said they did not recognize him.
The Constable cabin is decrepit; most of the windows are broken, and the roof sags and has a large hole in one spot. The weeds and grass around the building are several feet high. The only sign of life is a small footpath that appears to have been blazed from the driveway to the wide open front door. It is unclear whether it was created by humans or animals.
Although Keyes has been charged only with the Koenig murder, Burlington, Vt.-based WCAX reported July 23 that he is the prime suspect in the 2011 double murder of Bill and Lorraine Currier. The station additionally reported that Keyes was staying in Essex, Vt., the town where the Curriers lived and were slain.
The Union Leader newspaper from Manchester, N.H., reported July 28 that the FBI and state authorities in Alaska were sharing information about Keyes with New Hampshire prosecutors, possibly in connection with the July 25, 2011, slaying of 11-year-old Celina Cass of Stewartstown, N.H., which took place a month after the Currier murders.
State police are aware of Mr. Keyes and they are being provided information through the FBI. Everybody is looked at in these cases, New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General Jane Young told the Union Leader last week.
In the Anchorage murder, an April 17 federal indictment alleges that Keyes kidnapped and killed Ms. Koenig, stole her debit card and extorted ransom money from her family. The indictment says he left Anchorage for Texas, returned to Alaska, then fled back to Texas, where he was apprehended. Authorities tracked him down by watching where he withdrew money from Ms. Koenigs bank account.
The Have You Ever Met Israel Keyes? Possible Serial Killer Facebook page can be found at www.facebook.com/pages/Have-You-Ever-met-Israel-Keyes-Possible-Serial-Killer/399521663428225.