What You Should Know About Serial Killer Israel Keyes

Israel Keys was a serial killer who the FBI says murdered 11 people from 2001 to 2012 in various parts of the U.S. before being arrested for the death of 18-year-old Samantha Koenig in Anchorage, Alaska. According to ABC News, it's entirely possible that Keyes could've continued his life of serial murder if he hadn't gotten sloppy and broken his own rules, meticulous rules and protocols that he kept in order to evade arrest and continue kidnapping, raping, and murdering. 

Keyes was a planner. He would leave "murder kits" hidden in various places around the U.S. with things like weapons, tools, and cash in them in order to not have to travel with items that may seem conspicuous on a plane, per the FBI. Keyes liked to travel and seek out victims, but he didn't have a particular type. Keyes was more of an opportunist.  

But the opportunity to kidnap, rape, strangle and dismember Koenig as she worked alone at a coffee stand was his undoing. According to ABC News, Keyes broke his own rules when he took her, even though she didn't have her own car — a rule he followed so he didn't have to transport victims in his own vehicle. Another rule was that he didn't kill in the town where he lived, but in the case of Koenig, he broke that rule, too. 

Keyes left Alaska and traveled to the mainland U.S., where he used Koenig's debit card. That's how police tracked him. 

Israel Keys was raised off the grid

Israel Keyes was raised outside mainstream American society. According to Biography, he was one of 10 children born in 1978 to parents who were anti-government, and didn't believe in public school or modern medicine. Born in Utah, Keyes and his family moved to Washington State when he was a small child, where the family lived in the woods with no electricity. His parents were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (once known as the Mormons) then joined a white supremacist church as fundamentalist Christians. In the late 1990s the family moved to Oregon for a while, before relocating in Maine, where they settled close to an Amish community.

Biography reported that during his childhood, Keyes tortured animals. Keyes told investigators, "I've known since I was 14 that ... there were things that — that I thought were normal and that were okay that nobody else seemed to think were normal and okay," per CBS News

Special Agent Jolene Goeden with the Anchorage FBI said, "Although he chose many of his victims randomly, a tremendous amount of planning went into these crimes. Keyes enjoyed what he did, and he had no remorse at all. He told us if he hadn't been caught, he would have continued kidnapping and murdering people."

Israel Keyes killed himself in December 2012 in a jail cell in Alaska while awaiting trial. He left behind a creepy, lyrical note smeared with blood, published on ABC News. Today, the FBI is still working to identify more of Keyes' victims.