- Associated Press - Monday, December 3, 2012

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A man found dead of an apparent suicide in an Alaska jail was not only suspected of killing an Anchorage barista but may be linked to seven other possible slayings around the country, investigators said.

Israel Keyes, who had also confessed to killing a Vermont couple, was found dead in his cell Sunday, authorities said at a news conference that included U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler, the FBI, and Anchorage police.

Keyes was to stand trial in March in Anchorage federal court for the slaying of 18-year-old Samantha Koenig, who was abducted from a coffee kiosk in the city last February. He was later arrested in Texas after using the victim’s debit card.

Anchorage police chief Mark Mew said Keyes confessed to killing Koenig, as well as killing Bill and Lorraine Currier, of Essex, Vt.


The bodies of the Curriers have never been found. They were last seen leaving their jobs on June 8, 2011. Co-workers reported them missing the next day.

**FILE** Samantha Koenig, 18, a barista from Anchorage, Alaska, is seen here in an undated photo provided by the Anchorage Police Department. Investigators say Israel Keyes, found dead Dec. 2, 2012, of an apparent suicide in an Anchorage jail, was not only suspected of killing Koenig but may be linked to seven other possible slayings around the country. (Associated Press/Anchorage Police Department)
**FILE** Samantha Koenig, 18, a barista from Anchorage, Alaska, is seen here ... more >

Keyes didn’t have a clear pattern in victims, who ranged widely in age, authorities said. Money appeared to be just a partial motive.

Authorities said they may never know the full extent of Keyes‘ crimes because he parsed out only a little information at a time, withholding names and locations of most of his victims.

Keyes, 34, also indicated he killed four others in Washington state and one person in New York state but didn’t give the victims’ names, authorities said.

Authorities wouldn’t say how Keyes killed himself, only that he was alone in his cell. An autopsy will be conducted.

Keyes could have faced the death penalty in the Koenig case.

The FBI contends Keyes killed Koenig less than a day after she was kidnapped. Her body was recovered April 2 from an ice-covered lake north of Anchorage.

Koenig’s disappearance gripped the city for weeks.

A surveillance camera showed an apparently armed man in a hooded sweat shirt leading Koenig away from the coffee stand. Koenig’s friends and relatives established a reward fund and plastered the city with fliers with her photo in hopes of finding the young woman alive.

Prosecutors said Keyes stole the debit card from a vehicle she shared that was parked near her home, obtained the personal identification number and scratched the number into the card.

After killing Koenig, Keyes used her phone to send text messages to conceal the abduction, according to prosecutors. He flew to Texas and returned Feb. 17 to Anchorage, where he sent another text message demanding ransom and directing it to the account connected to the stolen debit card, according to prosecutors.

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