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Rambling Keyes suicide note leaves no clues

Ben Anderson

The blood-stained, four-page note written by confessed serial killer Israel Keyes and found in his Anchorage jail cell after his Dec. 2 suicide offered no new leads into the investigation of other murders committed by Keyes, the FBI said Wednesday.

Instead, the note was filled with vague, violent imagery, written in an occasionally rhyming, rambling style.

The note was found beneath Keyes’s body when he was found on the morning of his death, but it was so covered in blood to be illegible. An FBI laboratory in Virginia provided the analysis. The full note, with some portions still difficult to read, was released on Wednesday morning.

 “The FBI concluded there was no hidden code or message in the writings,” a statement from the agency said. “Further, it was determined that the writings do not offer any investigative clues or leads as to the identity of other possible victims. The FBI does not offer any commentary as to the meaning of these writings.”

Keyes killed himself by slitting his wrist with a razorblade embedded in a pencil and strangling himself with a bedsheet wrapped around his neck and attached to his ankle. He was awaiting trial for the February 2012 kidnapping and murder of 18-year-old Anchorage barista Samantha Koenig. While in custody, Keyes admitted to numerous other murders, including the June 2011 murder of Vermont couple Bill and Lorraine Currier.

Though no other specific victims of Keyes have been identified, some believe he may have killed as many as 11 people in a murderous spree that reportedly lasted longer than a decade, a period during which Keyes described himself to investigators as “two different people.”

On the one side, Keyes was a stable family man, with a daughter and a long-time girlfriend that he lived with, running a private contracting business. On the other, he would stalk remote locations like campgrounds and drive hundreds of miles in the Lower 48 in hopes of robbing banks and committing murders.

While Keyes’s suicide note does not appear to address the more “normal” side of his life, it alludes to some of the violence that filled that other side, and also seems to reflect a general disdain for society, twice repeating the refrain: “Land of the free, land of the lie, land of the scheme, Americanize.”

The note is not addressed to anyone in particular, instead using the pronoun “you.”

“Get in your big car, so you can get to work fast, on roads made of dinosaur bones. Punch in on the clock and sit on your ass, playing stupid ass games on your phone,” Keyes wrote.

Other sections are more ominous, including a description of a car crash and mourning relatives. The last two pages, in particular seem to address Keyes’s desire to control a victim -- referring to “you” as “my pretty captive butterfly.”

“Okay, talk is over, words are placid and weak,” Keyes wrote in the last paragraph of his note. “Back it with action or it all comes off cheap.”

 The whole thing is open to interpretation, which is perhaps why the FBI offered no further analysis.

“People can draw their own conclusions as to its meaning,” said FBI spokesman Eric Gonzalez. 

Some additional writing is scrawled in a margin on the first page, and words are occasionally squeezed in between others, written in a smaller hand. A good portion of the note is still illegible, and Gonzalez said that the FBI would release only the writings. The note was written in both pen and pencil, the FBI reported.

Contact Ben Anderson at ben(at)alaskadispatch.com