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Sites of Keyes' activity in the North Country: The murder of a couple in Essex, VT, a bank robbery in Tupper Lake, and weapons caches at his home in Constable and in Parishville. Source: Google maps
Sites of Keyes' activity in the North Country: The murder of a couple in Essex, VT, a bank robbery in Tupper Lake, and weapons caches at his home in Constable and in Parishville. Source: Google maps

Police investigate serial killer Keyes' North Country connections, activities

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Brian Mann joined Martha Foley on the line Thursday morning to talk about the new developments in the Israel Keyes investigation.

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Brian, this is all unfolding very quickly as far as the public is concerned, since Sunday now. But police and the FBI have known about Keyes’s activities including his time here in the North Country for a long time—eight or nine months. Is that typical?

No, it’s really not. And the amount of secrecy here is making some people uncomfortable, it’s drawing a lot of press attention in Vt., where, of course, the Currier case has drawn a lot of scrutiny. But, according to FBI, Keyes really told investigators that he didn’t want his friends and family to know about the extent of his crimes, and investigators were afraid that if these details were made public, it would cause him to stop talking.

And, in fact, part of the story did leak earlier on WCAX, the CBS affiliate in the Plattsburgh-Burlington area. Authorities say, at that time—that when Keyes heard about it, he stopped talking for a time, but they were able to coax him back into making more confessions.

This victim that he apparently brought back here to the North Country, what do we know about that? Anything more?

No. It’s really quite a mystery. It’s even unclear whether the victim was alive or dead when Keyes brought them here, apparently from outside New York state. One of his methods was to essentially take people hostage. He did that with the Curriers in Vermont for a time, and there’s also chilling video footage of Keyes taking Samantha Koenig prisoner. This is the woman he abducted from the coffee shop in Anchorage, Alaska. And so the FBI does believe that this victim is buried somewhere here in the North Country, they’re just not sure where.

Do we know anything about what brought Keyes here and why he chose to buy property and spend time in the North Country?

Well, what we know is that he moved around the country a lot and established caches of weapons and other equipment at various locations. FBI officials say they did confiscate some materials from the rundown house in Constable that he owned. He also had family in Maine, where he spent time. And he’s been implicated in four murders in Washington state, so it appears that he was very deliberate in attempting to use these various locations to confuse any pursuit, choosing victims over a really wide area.

The federal officials that we’ve heard from, and that you talked to yesterday, have talked about eight possible victims so far. Could there be more?

You know, Martha, this is one of the most awful things about this, that the FBI just doesn’t know. One of the things that’s particularly nervous for us in the North Country and in the Adirondacks is that one of the things that he talked about was targeting people at campgrounds, at boat launches, in kind of rural, hiking areas, and we don’t actually have many victims who fit that profile yet, so there could be others.

They’ve begun creating this timeline of his travel using credit cards and other evidence, and looking at missing person cases around the country. One other chilling detail here is that Keyes told investigators that at least one of his past murders had been investigated. Police, in that case, apparently decided that the death was an accident. So there’s a lot to sort through here.

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