A man who died in an apparent suicide this week in an Alaska jail after confessing to a string of killings across the US had sexually assaulted and strangled an Anchorage barista the day after he abducted her, then left her body in a shed while he went on a two-week cruise, the FBI said on Tuesday.
In the most detailed account yet of what happened to Samantha Koenig, who disappeared in February, authorities said Israel Keyes told them he strangled the 18-year-old, then left her body in a shed outside his Anchorage house until he returned from his cruise.
Once home, Keyes posed Koenig’s body to make her seem alive and took a Polaroid photograph of her with a newspaper dated Feb. 13 — 12 days after the abduction. He typed a ransom note demanding US$30,000 from Koenig’s family on the back of a photocopy of the photo, sending a text message from her cellphone with directions.
Keyes dismembered Koenig’s body and disposed of the remains in a frozen lake north after he cut a hole in the ice, the FBI said.
Keyes, 34, was arrested in Koenig’s death in March in Texas, after using her stolen debit card.
After his arrest, Keyes confessed to killing Koenig and at least seven other people across the US over the past decade.
Keyes, who faced a March trial in Koenig’s death, was found dead on Sunday in his Anchorage jail after he apparently killed himself.
Also on Tuesday, authorities released video footage of Keyes abducting Koenig caught by a surveillance camera.
In the video, Keyes wears a black ski mask as he climbs through the window of an Anchorage coffee kiosk. Before entering the stand, he orders an Americano coffee, which Koenig makes.
At one point Keyes makes Koenig turn off the light. The light switch was close to a panic button, but Koenig never pushed it, probably because she was too afraid, police said.
He told Koenig he would let her go if her family paid a ransom, but that was never his intention, police said.
Authorities say Keyes traveled extensively in the US, landing at one location and targeting victims randomly hundreds of kilometers away.
In the Koenig case, he stuck to his own town.
“He broke his own rule,” homicide detective Monique Doll said.