Law enforcement personnel search the home where Israel Keyes lived in West Anchorage, Alaska, Oct. 23.(Photo: Erik Hill, AP)
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A man charged in
the death of an Alaska barista has killed himself, and authorities said
Sunday he had been linked to at least seven other possible slayings in
three other states.
Israel Keyes was found dead in his Anchorage
jail cell Sunday morning. U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler said at a news
conference that Keyes killed himself.
Keyes was facing a March
trial in federal court for the murder of 18-year-old Samantha Koenig,
who was abducted from an Anchorage coffee kiosk last February. He was
later arrested in Texas after using the victim's debit card.
said Keyes confessed to killing Bill and Lorraine Currier of Essex, Vt.
The couple was reported missing in June 2011.
indicated he killed four others in Washington state and one person in
New York state, but did not give the victims' names, authorities said.
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
Koenig's disappearance had gripped the city for weeks.
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 flyers
with her photo in hopes of finding the young woman alive.
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
Keyes made withdrawals from automated teller machines
in Alaska, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas before his arrest in Texas,
according to prosecutors.
Koenig's family said there was no apparent previous connection between the teen and the suspect.