FBI: Serial killer unlikely to have shot Seattle hikers
The FBI concludes it is unlikely that serial killer Israel Keyes was responsible for the 2006 slayings of Mary Cooper and her daughter Susanna Stodden on a hiking trail in Snohomish County.
Seattle Times staff reporter
It is unlikely that confessed serial killer Israel Keyes was responsible for the 2006 deaths of a mother and daughter on the Pinnacle Lake Trail in Snohomish County, the FBI has concluded in a new report tracking Keyes’ whereabouts over the past 15 years.
The news disappointed David Stodden, whose wife and daughter were the victims of the unsolved slayings. But Stodden said Tuesday he hopes that the interest in the Keyes case will bring renewed focus on the killings.
“The detectives are still working the case. They are still looking for tips. There’s still a $20,000 reward,” said Stodden, of Seattle. “My daughters and I just try to stay positive in the meantime. What else can we do?”
Mary Cooper and her daughter Susanna Stodden were found shot to death on the trail on July 11, 2006.
Keyes was briefly considered a possible suspect when, while awaiting trial for the kidnapping, rape and murder of an 18-year-old Anchorage woman in March 2012, he began confessing to killings dating back to July 2001.
He was arrested after he attempted to extort ransom from the woman’s family.
In a chilling taped interview with detectives, Keyes said he had been “two different people” for at least 14 years: one a successful general contractor and the other a sex killer whose planning showed a “meticulous and organized approach to his crimes.”
Keyes, 34, killed himself in his jail cell with a razor on Dec. 2, 2012.
The FBI said Keyes, a former Army infantryman who had been stationed at what was then Fort Lewis near Tacoma, likely committed his first murder while he was living in Neah Bay, Clallam County, in July 2001, not long after his discharge. The bureau said the identity and the location of that victim, including whether it occurred in Washington state, are not known.
Sometime between July 2001 and July 2005, Keyes said, he killed an unidentified couple in Washington but would not provide any further details other than that he had buried them in a valley.
In his effort to avoid detection, Keyes told agents, he sometimes would kidnap someone from one state, kill them in another and dispose of their remains somewhere else.
In the summer of 2005 or 2006, Keyes said, he killed two other people in separate attacks in Washington and disposed of one of the bodies in Lake Crescent, near Port Angeles. Again, the identities of the victims are not known.
The FBI said Keyes always killed strangers and would sometimes wait in isolated areas, like campgrounds and trailheads, for someone to show up.
Agents say Keyes was highly organized and would travel long distances to hunt victims, often using several modes of transportation to cover his trail. Investigators said Keyes confessed to hiding caches of equipment he planned to use in future killings, including money, weapons and means of disposing of bodies.
The FBI said agents recovered two caches, in Eagle River, Alaska, and at Blakes Falls Reservoir in New York. Another is hidden somewhere near Port Angeles, the FBI said.
Keyes moved from Washington to Alaska in March 2007.
The only other identified Keyes victims are Bill and Lorraine Currier, of Essex, Vt., a couple in their 50s who disappeared from their home in June 2011. Keyes said he broke into their home, bound them with zip ties and took them to an abandoned house where he shot Bill Currier and sexually assaulted and strangled Lorraine Currier.
Their bodies have not been found.
Mike Carter: 206-464-3706 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Information in this article, originally published Aug. 13, 2013, was corrected Aug. 15, 2013. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the FBI believes Israel Keyes likely committed his first murder in Neah Bay, Clallam County, in July 2001. The FBI now says it is unknown where the slaying took place, but occurred while Keyes was a resident of Neah Bay.