Israel Keyes is the serial murderer you never heard of. But then, neither had the FBI, until he told them about himself: Keyes grew up in Washington, served here in the Army, and worked here when he began a 15 -year cross-country spree of rape, robbery and murders - likely a dozen or more - including four somewhere in this state. "Somewhere" because he wouldn't say where, exactly, before he killed himself in an Anchorage jail last month. The search for his victims is ongoing in Seattle and across the U.S., we report in today's Seattle Weekly cover story - a body hunt hampered by the secrets he took to his grave along with his fascination for another Washington serial killer, his idol Ted Bundy.
In fact, Keyes' murder and robbery marathon, ranging from Neah Bay to New York and the Southwest U.S., at one point took him to Bundy's birthplace, Burlington, Vermont.
That's where Keyes abducted a couple he selected out of the blue, awakening them at gunpoint in their beds and taking them to an abandoned farmhouse where he shot the man and raped, then strangled, the woman.
The Tacoma-raised Bundy once described himself as the "most cold-hearted son-of-a-bitch you will ever meet." But he apparently never met Keyes: His victims include a teenage barista in Anchorage he also abducted and raped, then cut up her body and hid the remains beneath the ice of a frozen lake.
Later, at an Arizona ATM machine, the bank video recorded him in disguise - wearing a ghastly Ghostface mask. It was similar to the mask used by the serial killer of teens in the movie "Scream," and was Keyes' idea of a joke: The bank card he was using was stolen from the teen he dismembered.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Feldis tells us Keyes thought he was a mastermind. But after he killed the teen and left a trail, police had him cold.
"We laid out our photos, videos, the ATM records, and other evidence, and explained there was no doubt he'd be convicted. With his attorney's approval, he agreed to talk. That's when he confessed," said Feldis.
His attorneys, including two from Seattle, objected to his confessions to other crimes.
But "Keyes wanted to talk to us and did so willingly--that was his choice," says Feldis. "We read him his Miranda rights each time, and advised he could have an attorney present, and each time he waived that right."
Murder was, in Keyes' sociopathic mindset, not complicated. To investigators who asked why he killed, Keyes had a ready answer: "Why not?"