Man charged in North Bend killings, called a survivalist
A 41-year-old man suspected of killing his wife and daughter and then setting fire to his North Bend-area home has a "survivalist mentality" and could be hiding out in a fort stockpiled with weapons, food and other gear, according to documents filed in King County Superior Court.
Seattle Times staff reporters
Investigators say the North Bend-area man suspected of killing his wife and daughter is a survivalist who may be hiding out in a fort stockpiled with weapons, food and other gear.
Peter Keller was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and a single count of arson in King County Superior Court on Wednesday, but the 41-year-old remains at large.
Court documents say Keller's daughter told her boyfriend that Keller was preparing for "the end of the world" and stockpiling items in the woods.
Other friends and relatives said Keller, an avid outdoorsman, spent most of his free time on long hikes and bike rides.
King County Sheriff Steve Strachan said the places Keller could be hiding are so numerous in King County and the Cascade Mountains that investigators are hoping for a break from someone who may have seen his pickup, a faded red Toyota, parked at a trailhead.
"We believe he used that truck habitually and regularly to go out on these long hikes, where he may have been setting up some sort of a fort or something in the woods," Strachan said at a news conference on Wednesday.
"If somebody saw that vehicle on several weekends, or regularly, that would begin to pinpoint a location" to a particular trail or area, Strachan said.
Strachan said hikers, campers and bicyclists need not alter their plans for fear of an encounter with Keller, but they should be aware. Anyone who recalls seeing the pickup should call 206-296-3311 or 911.
"Carry a cellphone," said Strachan, who advised hikers not to confront Keller.
The no-bail arrest warrant was signed after prosecutors charged Keller with killing his wife, Lynnettee, 41, and daughter Kaylene, 19. Keller also was charged with arson for allegedly setting fire to his family's North Bend home in an effort to cover up the killings.
The murder charges include firearm-sentencing enhancements. If convicted as charged, Keller would face a sentence range of 51 to 65-½ years in prison.
Firefighters responded to the fire at the home in the 47200 block of Southeast 159th Street near Twin Falls State Park around 8:30 a.m. on Sunday.
They found the bodies of Keller's wife and daughter in their beds.
The King County Medical Examiner's Office determined each had been shot in the head, police said.
The family's pets also were shot to death in the home, according to charging documents.
Several gas cans from the Kellers' shed were found scattered throughout the house with varying amounts of gasoline inside them, court documents say.
Arson investigators say the fire was started intentionally after a gas can was put in a skillet on a hot stove.
Relatives of Lynnettee Keller, to whom Peter Keller had been married 21 years, told detectives that he is reclusive, according to charging documents.
He would make dinner for guests but "nap" rather than visit, they said.
They said he had a fascination with guns, a survivalist mentality and a "distaste for authority," court documents say.
One of Keller's co-workers told detectives Keller owned handguns, high-caliber rifles, scopes, silencers and body armor.
The co-worker said Keller kept the purchase of the silencers a secret from his wife because of their expense, charging papers say.
Keller, who worked in Preston, had taken Monday, Thursday and Friday off last week.
When another co-worker asked him when he was going to return to work, Keller allegedly responded "that he may not come back next week, the week after that or maybe never," charging papers say.
Court documents say that all of the family's computers — save one purchased by Keller in the past couple of weeks — were found in the family's home.
Detectives say that on Friday, Keller turned his cellphone off and withdrew $6,200 from his bank account.
Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or email@example.com