17 Scary Facts About Israel Keyes

He was arguably one of the scariest serial killers in history, mainly because of the way he went about committing his crimes.

In this post, you’ll discover the ultimate list of facts about Israel Keyes, a man with more than one horrible secret!

1. He was born in Cove, Utah

Israel Keyes was born on January 7, 1978, in Cove, Utah, located in Cache County in the west of the United States. If you haven’t heard of Cove then that’s because it’s considered to be a census-designated place (CDP) and not even a town.

Let’s just say it’s a pretty rural place that has a population of less than 500.

2. His family was Mormon but they changed religion

Keyes was born into a Mormon family as the second-oldest child of 10 siblings. His mother’s name is Heidi Keyes (born Hakansson) and his father’s name is John Jeffrey Keyes.

He described his living conditions and philosophy in his first years as being “Amish” but the family changed religion when he was between 3 and 5 years old as they basically became Christian Fundamentalists. He referred to this as a “more militant militia sort of church,” which indeed doesn’t sound too positive for the development of a child.

3. He grew up in very simple conditions

At this early age, the family moved to the woods outside of Colville, Washington, and started inhabiting a one-room cabin. This residence didn’t have electricity or running water.

On top of that, as the family grew, many of the children were forced to sleep outside in tents most of the time. Yes, these were pretty rough conditions to be growing up in as a child.

4. Keyes was already a predator as a child

While he was living in the woods, Keyes developed a fascination with both guns and hunting animals. This clearly indicates something was wrong with him from early on, similar to how another notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer loved to cut open animals as a child for example.

He would refer to his hunting exploits that he loved to kill “anything with a heartbeat,” something that indicates he simply enjoyed killing, which is the reason why he would eventually start his murder spree.

5. He renounced the Christian faith in his teens

Israel Keyes and all of his siblings were homeschooled. Apart from that, the entire family also visited several churches that teach Christian identity, including “The Ark” and the “Christian Israel Covenant Church.”

It’s fair to conclude that they took their religion pretty seriously, which resulted in a serious crash after Keyes decided to renounce his Christian faith in his teens.

To make things even worse, he also indicated that he was interested in Satanism in his late teens, something that might have sparked his interest in murder even further!

6. His first serious crime ended well for the victim

His interest in Satanism resulted in a first crime that remarkably ended well for the victim. His original idea was to perform a Satanic ritual killing by abducting a young woman.

He claimed that he managed to grab a young woman from the Deschutes River and tied her up, but wasn’t able to perform the killing he had in mind because he was “too timid” and “not violent enough.”

She eventually kept her promise and didn’t tell anybody about the incident.

7. Keyes made up his mind during his time in the U.S. Army

Keyes ended up enrolling in the U.S. Military and served in Fort Lewis in Washington and Fort Hood in Texas, as well as a 6-month stint in Egypt. He was described by his friends in the army as “reserved” and loved listening to the music group Insane Clown Posse. He also drank heavily during the weekends, especially Wild Turkey bourbon.

Similar to how the Green River Killer started visiting prostitutes while he was in the army, which eventually resulted in the murder of dozens of prostitutes. Keyes also visited prostitutes while in the army and it’s during this period that he decided he would continue his criminal behavior.

In his own words: “I came to terms with myself and the reasons I wanted to do it.”

8. He started a construction business in Alaska in 2007

One of the most interesting facts about Israel Keyes is that he managed to completely keep his evil side separate from his normal life. He found a girlfriend after his period in the military and got a daughter as well.

Even though this relationship didn’t end up well, he found another girlfriend and moved with her to Anchorage in Alaska. In 2007, he started his own contracting business and did quite well and he was generally liked by the people he worked with.

Nobody could have ever imagined that he was actually secretly had fantasies about abducting strangers and kill them just because he enjoyed doing that!

9. He stashed “hidden treasures” all across the country

His contracting business allowed him to be away from home without anybody suspecting anything strange going on. After all, he was away to do a job and was always back home at exactly the time he mentioned earlier.

He turned his free time on these trips into an opportunity to bury hidden treasures, which were basically “murder kits.” These contained a gun, knives, rope to tie victims up, etc.

In one of the investigation interviews after his arrest, he once mentioned that he always dreamed of finding a buried treasure as a child. That’s the reason why he buried these “kill kits,” only to dig them up as if they were treasures, just before committing a heinous crime!

10. He was extremely careful not to leave any traces

Keyes was extremely fascinated by infamous serial killer Ted Bundy and some have suggested that his modus operandi was pretty similar, even though it differed in some crucial ways.

The main difference is that Keyes planned every single step of his crimes meticulously in an attempt to evade arrest. Some of these precautions he took include:

  • He didn’t care about who he killed, leaving no victim profile behind.
  • He killed far from home, often driving hundreds of miles with a rented car.
  • He didn’t know any of the victims he killed, nor had he any connection with them.
  • He didn’t use his cell phone while he was on one of his infamous trips.
  • He only used cash as to not leave a single trace where he had been.

If we compare Bundy with Keyes, then Bundy was actually extremely sloppy. Then again, in the 1970s social media didn’t exist, nobody had a cellphone, there weren’t any security cameras, and DNA evidence was non-existent, so he didn’t really have to take these precautions.

11. He confessed to many murders but didn’t give any details

After he got arrested, he was interviewed between April and December of 2012 by the Anchorage detectives dozens of times. He was given drinks, Snickers bars, and even a cigar, in an attempt to make him confess to all of his crimes.

During these interviews, he didn’t go into full detail about the majority of the crimes he committed. He did, however, confess to several crimes including murders in New York State, Washington, Vermont, and New Jersey.

The reason he didn’t talk about the crimes is that he “committed these murders for himself as it was entertainment for him,” and “unless he got something in return,” which wasn’t really possible, he “was simply going to keep it to himself.”

facts about Israel Keyes

12. The one time he described a murder explains how creepy he really was

He did one time go into detail after he was given assurance that the story would be kept private and his daughter wouldn’t find out about it. While that didn’t happen, he gave a clear description of how he murdered a middle-aged couple in Vermont on the other side of the country.

He first flew to Chicago where he rented a car. He then drove that car over 1,000 miles to Vermont where he had buried one of his murder kits. He looked for a house with no kids, no dogs, and a garage attached to it.

When he found the perfect house, that of Bill and Lorraine Currier, he abducted the couple and drove them to an abandoned farmhouse where he raped the woman before killing them both. He then put Drano on the bodies to make them decompose and packed them in garbage bags before burying them at an unknown location.

That’s the chilling account of Israel Keyes having a day of fun. Pretty scary, don’t you think?

13. He didn’t just kill but also committed other crimes for thrills

Another one of those remarkable facts about Israel Keyes is that he didn’t just murder people but also committed a range of other crimes. The FBI stated that he might have been involved in between 20 and 30 burglaries all across the country between 2001 and 2012.

Apart from breaking into people’s houses, he also robbed several banks, just for the thrill of it. He stated that the money was a nice bonus but wasn’t the main reason why he robbed banks, he just loved the excitement.

14. He was arrested because he broke his own rules

So how did one of the most meticulous serial killers in American history get caught?

The murder and crime spree that lasted about 15 years came to an end when he got sloppy, that’s how! His final crime was the abduction and murder of an 18-year-old coffee shop employee named Samantha Koenig.

He raped and killed the girl and put her body into a shed next to his house and went on a 2-week cruise in the Gulf of Mexico with his family as if nothing happened.

The crucial mistake he made was when he started using her debit card after part of a $30,000 ransom he asked was paid to it. This allowed the police to track his movement. When an ATM camera actually captured his rental car, Texas police officers were able to arrest him on March 13, 2012.

15. He committed suicide in his jail cell

His trial was set to commence in March of 2013, but it never happened. When the story about the murders in Vermont was publicized in the newspaper along with his name and face, he stopped talking to officers altogether.

One day, on December 2, 2012, he cut his wrist and slowly bled to death. The born killer had committed his final murder when he took his own life.

16. He left a suicide note described as an “ode to murder”

The suicide note that was found completely covered in blood in Keyes’ cell didn’t offer any valuable insights as to why he committed the murders, nor did it provide clues for any of his other crimes.

It was simply described as a “weird ode to murder” and probably an attempt to increase his own self-worth after his death. Here is an excerpt of the creepy note:

Your face framed in dark curls like a portrait, the sun shone through highlights of red. What color I wonder, and how straight will it turn plastered back with the sweat of your blood. Your wet lips were a promise of a secret unspoken, nervous laugh as it burst like a pulse of blood from your throat. There will be no more laughter here.

Part of Israel Keyes’ suicide note.

17. Do these creepy drawings reveal how many people he killed?

The FBI released a series of drawings in May 2020, made by Keyes while he was in prison and drawn with his own blood. These drawings depict 11 skulls with one of them saying “We Are One.”

One of the most intriguing facts about Israel Keyes is that he often stated that he killed less than a dozen people, so the FBI believes that these 11 skulls represent the number of people that he actually killed.

With Keyes dead, likely, we’ll never know the full extent of his crimes. This also means we’ll probably never know who all of his victims are as well.

Skulls drawn by Israel Keyes