Serial Killer Israel Keyes Got 'High' from Killing, FBI Agent Says

Israel Keyes relished hunting and killing innocent victims across the country.

ByABC News
December 5, 2012, 12:07 PM

Dec. 6, 2012— -- Confessed serial killer Israel Keyes relished the "rush" he got from traveling the country to execute meticulously planned murders, according to the FBI agent who spent months interviewing him.

"He liked what he was doing," FBI Special Agent Jolene Goeden told "Good Morning America" today. "He talked about the rush he got out of it, the adrenaline and kind of the high from it."

Keyes, 34, can be seen casually talking about his strategy for hunting and killing people over a coffee and bagel in videos released by the FBI. He was, by his own account, a split personality.

"There is no one who knows me or who has ever known me that knows anything about me, really," he told FBI investigators in an audio recording released to the media.

Others, he said, "will tell you something that doesn't line up with anything I tell you, because I'm two different people basically. The only person who knows about what I'm telling you, the kind of things I'm telling you, is me," he said.

Keyes said he had felt this duality for "14 years."

While Keyes told police that he would cross the country to find victims to kill because "he liked to do it," he also wanted to keep his confessions secret to protect his reputation.

Born in Utah to Mormon parents, Keyes was home schooled and attended a Christian Identity church called The Ark in tiny Colville, Wash., which has fewer than 5,000 residents. The church believes that Aryans, not Jews, are the true Israelites and created an anti-Semitic atmosphere. Keyes later described himself on his Myspace page as an atheist.

Among the Ark's other worshippers were Keyes' Colville neighbors and friends, convicted murderer Chevie Kehoe and his brother, Cheyne, according to Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center and editor of the group's Hatewatch blog.

The Kehoe brothers, both members of the Aryan Nation with ambitions to bring down the U.S. government, sparked a nationwide manhunt in 1997 after a shootout with officers during a traffic stop. Heavy weapons and 4,000 rounds of ammunition were found in the brothers' SUV.

Chevie was sentenced to three life sentences for the murders of gun dealer William Mueller and his family. Cheyne, who testified against his brother, was released from prison in 2008 after serving time for felonious assault and attempted murder charges stemming from the shootout.

"The reality of this is what Israel Keyes' childhood in this church may have meant, we just don't know," Potok said. "It's not very obvious what the relationship may be, if any."

Keyes had a three year stint in the U.S. Army and was stationed at Fort Lewis from 1998 until 2001. After he left the Army, Keyes took a job working for the Makah Tribal Council in Neah Bay, Wash., until 2007.

He claims he began his murders while working for the tribal council. He told investigators that he "murdered a couple" between 2001 and 2005, and killed two people in separate incidents sometime in 2005 and 2006.

"It is unknown if the victims were residents of Washington or if they were vacationing in Washington but resided in another state," the FBI said in a release. "It is also possible Keyes abducted them from a nearby state and transported them to Washington."

Keyes described to authorities how he would find his victims.

"I would let them come to me, just a remote area," he said. "A remote area that's not anywhere where you live but other people go to as well."

The FBI said in a statement that Keyes's favorite places to find victims were remote locations such as parks, campgrounds, trailheads and cemeteries.

He told authorities this method did not provide "as much to choose from.... but also not witnesses really, nobody else around."

In 2007, he moved to Anchorage, where he began a carpentry business, building everything from decks and fences to renovating kitchens, according to his now defunct website.

In between work, Keyes hopscotched across the country bringing his tally of victims to at least eight, he claimed, some of whom remain unidentified and their remains never recovered. He also stashed weapons, cash and tools to dispose of bodies in locations around the country for use in future murders. Keyes told police of two such stashes which have been recovered, officials said.

An FBI timeline outlines 35 trips Keyes took from October 2004 through March of this year, hinting at more victims.

His murderous travels came to an end in March when Keyes was arrested for the murder of Samantha Koenig, 18, who was abducted Feb. 1 from an Anchorage coffee stand where she worked. She was raped, strangled and dismembered. Before disposing of her body, Keyes went on a two week cruise.