Alaska man accused of killing coffee barista commits suicide in prison, linked to other murders

Samantha Koenig (Source: Koenig family)
Samantha Koenig (Source: Koenig family)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - An Alaska man whom East Texas authorities brought into custody last march for the murder of an 18- year-old missing Alaska girl is now dead. Federal officials have confirmed that Israel Keyes killed himself in a federal prison over the weekend.

Keyes was arrested during a routine traffic stop in Lufkin on March 13th. East Texas News has learned that Keyes was linked to seven cases involving the murders of eight people in four different states.

"Today, we held a press conference at the US Attorney's Office confirming that Israel Keyes, who was in custody for the murder of Samantha Koenig, was the confessed killer of Bill and Lorraine Currier of Essex Junction, Vermont," T.J. Donavan, the state attorney of Chittenden County, Vermont, said. "Keyes abducted and murdered the Curriers in June 2011."

Donavan said it took a lot of work from officials in several different states is grateful for the role Texas law enforcement officials.

"Law enforcement across the country worked well together, and this is a case that is frankly of national significance given the statements there may be other victims out there," Donavan said.

Last March, the parking lot of the Cotton Patch restaurant in Lufkin became a part of a nationwide hunt for Keyes.

Keyes was on the run from officials after he killed 18-year-old Samantha Koenig. Local Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and US officials were in on the arrest. Since that time Keyes has been held in federal custody in Alaska.

That was until this weekend when he committed suicide. His suicide came after he admitted to more murders.

"The family drafted a statement requesting that their privacy be respected and their gratitude to the community for their support in this difficult time," Donavan said.

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