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Alleged serial killer found dead, but closure eludes some families

December 03, 2012|By Amy Hubbard
  • Israel Keyes was found dead in an Alaska jail after confessing to multiple crimes. A composite sketch was released in Vermont of a person of interest in the 2011 disappearance of Bill and Lorraine Currier. Keyes reportedly confessed to killing the couple.
Israel Keyes was found dead in an Alaska jail after confessing to multiple… (Anchorage Police Department;…)

The jail-cell suicide of suspected serial killer Israel Keyes, held in the killing of Alaska barista Samantha Koenig, has seemingly solved one other murder mystery, and has brought closure for one family -- even as it has left the grieving Koenig family feeling as though justice was yanked from their grasp.

Midsummer in Vermont, searchers spent weeks digging through a landfill, looking for the bodies of Bill and Lorraine Currier, reported missing in June 2011. At their home in Essex, there were signs that they had been abducted -- a garage window broken, a handgun missing and the phone line to the home cut.

A statement from the U.S. attorney for Vermont in July said a "person believed to have committed the murders is in custody in another state and will remain in custody." 

At the time, Vermont's WCAX News pinpointed the suspect as Keyes, saying he owned property in the region. Keyes had confessed to the crime while in jail in Alaska, drawn out by investigators, who found him to be calculating and organized.

Keyes admitted killing the Curriers, the Anchorage Daily News reports. He said he put the bodies of the couple in an abandoned farmhouse, which was torn down by the time he made his confession. But he may have killed more people as well.

For nine months, the Anchorage paper said, investigators attempted to draw Keyes out, getting him to talk about his crimes. In the case of Koenig, who disappeared in February, Keyes told authorities where he had hidden the 18-year-old's body -- in an icy lake, using a chain saw to cut a hole and slip her corpse beneath the ice. Her body was recovered there by divers April 2.

As the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday, Keyes implicated himself in the killings of four people in Washington state and one in New York.

But he killed himself before providing names.

The suicide has left the Koenigs feeling Samantha had been wronged yet again. A spokeswoman for the family said they wanted Keyes to go before a jury and answer for his crimes.

But for the family of the Curriers, there's a measure of peace. Bill Currier's mother, Marilyn Chates, told the Associated Press that Keyes' suicide saved the family from a long, rough legal road.

"Perhaps this was the best thing," she said.

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