Investigators announced Sunday their belief that Israel Keyes is a serial killer but months before, a man running a Facebook page attempting to piece together Keyes' past had come to the same conclusion.
James Koenig, the father of the woman whose disappearance on Feb. 1 led investigators to Keyes, said he established the page, with help from volunteers, in order to build a timeline of Keyes' whereabouts during the 34 years he'd been alive.
In a news conference explaining that Keyes apparently took his life early Sunday at the Anchorage jail, investigators announced he had confessed not only to killing Samantha Koenig, a barista who disappeared from an Anchorage coffee shop, but also a Vermont couple, William and Lorraine Currier. Also, they said Keyes indicated that he killed four others in Washington state and another person in New York, bringing to eight the people he's suspected of killing.
The Facebook page, taking in tips from people who had knowledge of Keyes' past, suggested Keyes was possibly involved in missing persons' cases in Washington state, where Keyes had lived part of his life, and the upper East Coast, where Keyes owned property in upstate New York. The page also suggests Keyes may have been involved in a bank robbery in Texas in mid-February, noting that photos of the thief bore a resemblance to Keyes. Investigators on Sunday also called Keyes a suspected bank robber.
James Koenig said on Sunday evening that he had no idea whether the information he'd published helped police. Much of his intent in establishing the page -- Have You Ever Met Israel Keyes? Possible Serial Killer -- was to help bring closure to other families who might have lost loved ones to Keyes.
With Keyes' death on Sunday, families will likely be left with unanswered questions.
Koenig said he's angry justice won't be served in a case that was set to start in March.
"I'm not happy with it," he said of Keyes' apparent suicide. "He just robbed Samantha of him standing trial and being convicted so we can move forwarded on getting the death penalty back in the state of Alaska at the state level. It shouldn't be just a death penalty at the federal level."
Getting a death penalty for Alaska has been one of Koenig's goals since his daughter was killed. Koenig has also set up an organization that helps others find missing family. They've done everything from offer advice to post fliers and conduct searches. You can learn about those efforts at the Facebook page on Keyes and at a site called Seeking Alaska's Missing.
In the media conference Sunday, police didn't explain how Keyes took his life. Koenig blamed the state Department of Corrections for not watching Keyes closely enough, despite having monitors and cameras in each cell.
"(Department of Corrections) dropped the ball," he said. "He shouldn't have had anything in his cell to kill himself."
Contact Alex DeMarban at alex(at)alaskadispatch.com