ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A man who apparently committed suicide in an Alaska jail while awaiting trial in the death of an Anchorage barista also killed a Vermont couple last year after traveling across the country looking for someone to kidnap and murder, authorities said Monday. He may be linked to five other possible slayings around the country.
Israel Keyes, 34, was to stand trial in March in Anchorage federal court for the death of 18-year-old Samantha Koenig, who was abducted from a coffee kiosk in the city last February. He was later arrested in Texas after using the victim's debit card.
He was found dead in his cell Sunday, authorities said at a news conference that included U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler, the FBI, and Anchorage police. Authorities wouldn't say how he killed himself, only that he was alone in his cell. An autopsy will be conducted.
While being investigated in the Koenig disappearance, Keyes also confessed to the deaths of Bill and Lorraine Currier, of Essex, Vt., who disappeared in June 2011, authorities said. Officials confirmed Monday at a news conference in Vermont that he was responsible, saying he described details that had not been released publicly.
Keyes flew from Alaska to Chicago with the intent of kidnapping and killing someone, drove to Vermont and picked the Curriers, a couple in their 50s, at random, officials in Vermont said. He told police he broke into their home, went into their bedroom, bound them with zip ties and forced them into their car.
He then drove them to an abandoned house and tied Bill to a stool in the basement, while Lorraine Currier tried to escape, Chittenden County state's attorney T.J. Donovan said. Discovering this, Keyes ran out and tackled Lorraine, and Bill then tried to escape.
He shot Bill Currier with the gun he had stolen from the couple's home, and then sexually assaulted and strangled Lorraine Currier, Donovan said, his voice breaking. Their bodies have never been found, and Keyes did not volunteer the information.
"They fought to the end," Donovan said, adding that they showed "extraordinary bravery and love for each other."
Keyes could have faced the death penalty in the Koenig case.
He also indicated he killed four others in Washington state and one person in New York state but didn't give the victims' names, authorities said. He didn't have a clear pattern in victims, who ranged widely in age, authorities said.
There may be victims in other states, besides the four states noted by Keyes, said FBI agent Mary Rook. Keyes also confessed to bank robberies in New York state and Texas.
Authorities said they may never know the full extent of his crimes because he parsed out only a little information at a time, withholding names and locations of most of his victims.