The bone-chilling murder story of Samantha Koenig is not an unknown incident. She was only 18 when a serial killer, Israel Keyes, kidnapped and murdered her in Anchorage, Alaska. The most horrifying part of the murder was that he sewed her eyelids open for a chilling proof of life photo.
Samantha Koenig’s story spread worldwide like wildfire. The police eventually managed to get hold of the murderer after her death.
Here are the details of Samantha Koenig’s story. We suggest you read it at your own risk.
She was Having Just Another Day
It was like any other day for the 18-year-old, and she was working her shift at the Common Grounds coffee stand downtown in Anchorage. As she was finishing, the young barista was approached by a man. His identity remained hidden under a ski mask. After he ordered a coffee, he attacked Samantha and tied her hands together with zip ties before forcing her into his car with a gun to her head.
Keyes Didn’t Kill Samantha Immediately
The murderer did not kill his victim immediately after her abduction. He kept her alive for several hours and brought her back to her work so that she could get her cell phone. He used it to send a fake text message to her boyfriend, who was supposed to pick her up after work.
Israel Keyes took Samantha to his property, tied her in a shed, and used a radio to cover up her screams for help.
Israel Keyes – The Kidnapper
Israel Keyes was originally from Utah. He claimed to have committed his first murder in 1998, right after he enlisted in the United States Army. Before coming to Samantha, he had murdered nine people from multiple states, including Vermont, Washington, New York, and Florida.
The Chilling Details into Samantha’s Murder
Keyes killed Samantha in his own backyard, and the details of her murder are frightening.
When he abducted Samantha, he told her it was for robbery and ordered her to turn off the lights of the coffee shop. After she turned off the lights, he bound her hands, jumped through the window, and stuffed napkins into her mouth, forcing her to move out of the stand and get into his pickup truck.
While driving to his house, he told the victim that he only wanted to hold her for ransom. However, it was a sheer lie. After taking Samantha’s debit card and cell phone, he did not need her alive anymore. He took her from his truck, putting her in his tool shed and tying her up by the neck.
Keyes went inside his home to check on his girlfriend and daughter and ensure they were asleep. He poured a glass of wine for himself and told Samantha he would rape her before strangling her to death with the rope he had already tied around her neck. He did just the same. Leaving her lifeless body in the shed, he returned home. At 5:00 am, he called a cab and went to the airport, as he was flying to New Orleans for a 2-week Caribbean cruise he had planned with his family.
Samantha’s Ransom Photo
The victim wasn’t reported missing until the very next day, hours after she was already dead. The FBI immediately descended on Anchorage to find Samantha. However, all their efforts were in vain because there weren’t enough leads to locate her.
Keyes returned from his vacation after two weeks and decided to ask Samantha’s family for money in exchange for her return. He needed to show proof that she was still alive in order to collect the ransom. Samantha had been dead for over two weeks by this time, but Keyes ensured to show her alive in the photo.
He sewed her eyelids open with a fishing line, braided her hair, and applied makeup to her face. Keyes then propped the body against the wall and took the picture. He called this photo ‘proof of life’ indicating that the victim wasn’t harmed by him.
Keyes also texted Samantha’s boyfriend from her phone and told him to look for a package in the local park. In the package, Anchorage police found the polaroid photo and a note demanding $30,000 to be deposited in Samantha’s bank account. Her parents deposited the money as instructed.
Keyes Disposed of Samantha’s Remains in a Lake
After getting the ransom, Israel Keyes dismembered the victim’s body and disposed of all her remains in the frozen lake outside Palmer, Alaska, to the north.
The FBI Caught the Serial Killer
After depositing money into her account, her debit card started pinging. It denoted several locations – Anchorage, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. The FBI quickly figured out that her abductor was traveling east along Interstate 10. Besides this, the murderer committed a mistake in one of his first withdrawals. An ATM camera captured a white Ford Focus and showed a masked man, making it easy for the officials to catch him.
The information was then pushed out to law enforcement across the entire corridor. Within a few days of such information, a Texas state trooper spotted a car in the town of Shepherd in a hotel parking lot. He waited for the owner to come out and followed until the car sped up, pulling Keyes over the second he did. Upon searching the vehicle, he found Samantha’s ATM card, cell phone, and the same disguise that Keyes wore while getting captured in the cameras.
Samantha’s Body was Discovered Days after her Murder
Samantha’s murder was committed in February. However, her body was discovered in the first week of April, a few days after Israel Keyes confessed to murdering her. During his confession, he explained how he had staged the ransom by sewing the victim’s eyelids open.
The Murderer took his Own Life
In May 2012, Israel Keyes tried escaping from a courtroom after breaking a routine hearing. But soon, the authorities restrained him, and his escape attempt went unsuccessful.
On the 2nd of December, 2012, he managed to conceal a razor blade in his jail cell at the Anchorage Correctional Complex in Alaska. He used the same blade to kill himself.
Keyes Confessed Murdering Many People
It was not just Samantha, but Keyes killed many people. When he was caught by the officials, he confessed to murdering them. There are official records of two people who went missing – the Vermont couple, Bill and Lorraine Currier.
According to his confessions, he would plan murders ahead of time and did not have a specific victim profile, for he killed both men and women.
Keyes would often kill far from home, pay only cash, and turn off his mobile phone to save himself from getting traced in any form. However, things did not work in his favor in Samantha’s case.
He also put together murder kits that he hid for years in advance in the location around the country so that he could use them when the time was right for him to kill again.
Keyes Took Many Secrets to the Grave
Even after his arrest, Keyes never gave the exact details and information about the murders he committed. The number of people that he killed still remains unclear.
According to his biography reports, he traveled to different locations where he knew he could find people alone and catch them off guard. He preferred places such as campgrounds, secluded parks, and cemeteries to look for victims. He also admitted buying supplies near locations where he planned to find his victims.