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Confessed Alaska serial killer's suicide note leaves few clues

Confessed serial killer Israel Keyes is seen in this undated booking photo released to Reuters by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Alaska Decem
Confessed serial killer Israel Keyes is seen in this undated booking photo released to Reuters by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Alaska Decem

By Yereth Rosen

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - A confessed Alaska serial killer waxed poetic in a blood-soaked suicide note about the dread his victims felt before they died, but law enforcement officials said on Wednesday the note yielded few clues to aid investigators searching for his victims.

Israel Keyes wrote the four-page note, made public by the FBI, before he killed himself in December while awaiting trial on charges of kidnapping and killing an Anchorage barista who vanished from an espresso stand last year.

Keyes, in interviews with investigators, had admitted killing 18-year-old barista Samantha Koenig, whose body was found in an iced-over lake. Before his death, he also confessed to killing at least seven other people across the country, and investigators have said the true toll could be higher.

His rambling note, written in pencil on lined paper, was thoroughly examined by cryptologists at the bureau's Virginia laboratory, said Eric Gonzalez, special agent for the FBI in Anchorage. But it contained no useful information.

"I looked in your eyes, they were so dark warm and trusting as though you had not a worry or care. The more guiless (sic) the gaze the better potential to fill up those pools with your fear," said the note, which mentioned no names and left no explicit explanation for Keyes' actions.

Another line read: "Your face framed in dark curls like a portrait, the sun shone through highlight of red, what color I wonder, and how straight will it turn plastered back with the sweat of your dread."

Other portions of the note, which also railed against consumerism and conventional American life, appeared to be attempts at poetry.

"You may have been free, you loved living your lie, fate had its own scheme, crushed like a bug you still die," it said.

TARGETED STRANGERS

Cryptologists examined the wording of the note for "any kind of hidden message or code that could possibly offer some clues as to other possible victims," Gonzalez said. "But there was nothing."

Because the complete death toll remains unknown, investigators have been trying to match missing-persons reports with a timeline, dating back to 2001, of Keyes' travels in Alaska, other U.S. states and Canada.

Gonzalez said the FBI could not comment on the meaning of Keyes' written message, found under Keyes' body after he slit his wrist and strangled himself with a piece of bedding.

Keyes was arrested in Texas in March, with Koenig's bank card and cellphone in his possession. Once arrested, police say he confessed to abducting, raping and killing her, then dismembering her body and dumping the remains in a lake north of the city.

Keyes also admitted to killing a Vermont couple, Bill and Lorraine Currier, in 2011 and five other people he did not name. He told investigators his murders dated back to 2001, when he was released from the U.S. Army and living in Washington state.

A carpenter and contractor, Keyes moved to Anchorage in 2007, where he lived with his daughter and a girlfriend. He traveled around the country, targeting strangers at campsites, hiking trails and other isolated spots, according to his interviews with police and prosecutors.

He said in interviews that Koenig was his only Alaska murder victim, authorities said. But he admitted to disposing of four bodies in Washington state and one in New York state, as well as to the killings of Koenig and the Curriers, officials said.

(Reporting by Yereth Rosen; Editing By Cynthia Johnston and Eric Beech)

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