The latest episode of 48 Hours is titled “Tracking the Murders of Israel Keyes” and it features never-before-seen evidence that the FBI is using to try to track Keyes’ victims, which are thought to be buried across the country.
Here’s what you need to know about this notorious serial killer and his victims.
Keyes Was an Army Veteran
Keyes was born on January 7, 1978, the second of nine children, all of whom were homeschooled by their parents. They lived in a cabin in rural Stevens County, Washington when Keyes was young, which is where the Keyes family became friendly with the family Chevie Kehoe, according to Maureen Callahan’s biography of Keyes titled “American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century.” Kehoe went on to murder William Mueller and his wife and stepdaughter. He is currently serving three consecutive life sentences in prison for those murders.
Keyes served in the U.S. Army from 1998 to 2001 where he received several accolades. Then in 2007, he started a construction business in Alaska.
The Murder of Samantha Koenig Is What Brought Attention to Keyes
In February 2012, barista Samantha Koenig was working at a drive-thru coffee stand when she went missing one night. Security footage showed a man kidnapping her at gunpoint. Her body was found two months later in a lake; Keyes was eventually tracked down after using Koenig’s debit card to make ATM withdrawals in Alaska, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, according to ABC News. He also used her phone to send texts to mask her death, including one that demanded a ransom.
After Koenig was dead, Keyes left her body in a shed and went on a two-week cruise with his family, according to Anchorage’s local FOX affiliate. He later returned to Alaska, issued the ransom demand text with a staged photo meant to look like she was still alive, and then dismembered her body and disposed of it in Matanuska Lake.
Keyes Confessed to Several Other Murders Before Committing Suicide
Once he was in custody, Keyes confessed to killing Bill and Lorraine Currier of Essex, Vermont, and also four other victims in Washington state and one in New York, none of which he named.
The Curriers disappeared from their Vermont home in June 2011 and were never seen again. Keyes claimed to have taken them to an abandoned farmhouse where he beat and shot Bill and then sexually assaulted Lorraine before strangling her to death, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
By the time the authorities were looking for the Curriers’ bodies, the farmhouse had been demolished and an extensive search was unable to recover the bodies from a nearby landfill.
On December 2, 2012, while awaiting trial for Koenig’s murder, Keyes committed suicide in his jail cell.
48 Hours Has Evidence From His Cell the FBI Hopes Will Help Locate His Victims
FBI Special Agent Katherine Nelson tells 48 Hours correspondent Peter Van Sant that they believe skulls drawn in Keyes’ blood that were seized from his cell represent 11 victims.
“We believe that 11 is the total number of victims,” she says. “I don’t think anybody in his family, his friends, his relationships, his spouses, had any idea what he was doing. With Keyes, it wasn’t about a particular victim, it was about a location.”
“That’s where I got my kicks, I guess, was being able to live two different lives and have no one have a clue,” says Keyes in an interrogation video, adding, “Every time I’d drive, I’d be looking for places. Good places to do stuff.”
“He loved to travel. He would rent cars, he would drive thousands of miles, he would take people from one state and he would bury them in other states,” says another FBI agent. “There are potential victims wherever Israel Keyes traveled.
“We know there are families out there whose loved ones died at the hands of Israel Keyes. Right now we’re just trying to find them,” says Nelson.
48 Hours airs Saturdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.