BURLINGTON -- An Alaska man who killed a Vermont couple flew to Chicago and drove off with the intent of kidnapping and murdering someone, picked the victims randomly, and broke into their home at night, tied them up, drove them to an abandoned house and killed them, authorities said Monday.
Israel Keyes, 34, apparently killed himself in a prison in Alaska where he was being held for the slaying of an 18-year-old woman abducted from a coffee kiosk in Anchorage in February. He was later arrested in Texas after using her debit card. Keyes may also be linked to five other deaths and robberies around the country, authorities said.
Keyes had confessed to killing Bill and Lorraine Currier, 50 and 55, of Essex, providing details about their abduction and deaths that authorities had not released to the public, officials said at news conference Monday afternoon in Burlington.
Authorities said Keyes took a gun and silencer with him when he left Alaska, intent on killing someone.
June 28, 2011
Keyes told police he broke into the Currier home on June 8, 2011, went into their bedroom, bound them with zip ties and forced them into their car, authorities said.
He then drove them to an abandoned house in Essex and tied Bill to a stool in the basement, while Lorraine Currier tried to escape, Chittenden County state’s attorney T.J. Donovan said. Discovering this, Keyes ran out and tackled Lorraine, and Bill then tried to escape.
He shot Bill Currier with the silenced gun he had brought from Alaska and then sexually assaulted and strangled Lorraine Currier, Donovan said, his voice breaking.
"They fought to the end," Donovan said, adding that they showed "extraordinary bravery and love for each other."
Lorraine Currier’s purse was later found to be missing from the home, and authorities have said money appeared to be just a partial motive in Keyes’ crimes. The Curriers did not know Keyes and did nothing to contribute, U.S. Attorney Tristram Coffin said.
"By all accounts, they were friendly, peaceful, good people who encountered a force of pure evil acting at random," he said.
The house was torn down and the debris taken to a landfill. The Curriers’ bodies have never been found.
Keyes told investigators he would stop talking to police if his name was released publicly in the Currier case.
Police said that after the killings, Keyes left the Curriers’ car in a parking lot and drove his rental car to Maine. He then returned to Vermont and noticed the crime scene tape around the Currier home. Keyes told police he left Vermont and continued to follow the Currier case through the Vermont press.
Essex Police Lt. George Murtie, who interviewed Keyes about the Curriers’ killing, described his demeanor as "very calm" with "no display of emotion."
Authorities said they may never know the full extent of Keyes’ crimes because he parsed out only a little information at a time, withholding names and locations of most of his victims.
Keyes also indicated he killed four others in Washington state and one person in New York state but didn’t give the victims’ names, authorities said. He also confessed to bank robberies in New York and Texas.
Associated Press writer Rachel D’Oro in Anchorage contributed to this report.