ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Details began emerging about the mindset of a confessed serial killer who committed suicide last weekend in an Alaska jail cell, as family members prepared for his funeral and authorities searched for a woman they believe to be his first victim.
A Texas pastor said this week that Israel Keyes of Anchorage had attended his sister's March wedding in Texas, where he ranted about how he didn't believe in God.
Pastor Jacob Gardner said some of the preaching at the wedding had targeted Keyes to get him to "denounce his atheism." But the ceremony ended with Keyes raging against God, The Anchorage Daily News reported.
"We were greatly desirous to see him saved, and greatly desirous to see him denounce his atheism, which he was steadfastly holding to and defending," Gardner told the newspaper.
Keyes was arrested later that month in Lufkin, Texas. He then confessed to killing at least eight people across the country, before he was found dead Sunday in his Anchorage cell. Authorities say Keyes had slit one of his wrists and strangled himself with a rolled-up sheet.
Gardner said he was traveling with Keyes' mother and other relatives for Keyes' funeral Sunday in Deer Park, Wash.
The FBI has said Keyes confessed to killing Anchorage barista Samantha Koenig in February, and at least seven others over the past decade, including Bill and Lorraine Currier of Essex, Vt., in June 2011. Keyes didn't provide names or details in any of the other killings.
He was arrested after using Koenig's stolen debit card at ATMs in Texas, Alaska, Arizona and New Mexico. Keyes was facing a March 2013 trial in the death of Koenig, 18.
The FBI said Keyes told authorities he planned to strike again in Alaska if he'd gotten away with Koenig's murder.
Meanwhile, FBI agents in Oregon said Keyes also admitted to raping — but not killing — a young girl on the Deshutes River near Maupin, Ore., between 1996 and 1998 after separating her from a group of friends.
The woman would now be in her late 20s or 30s, the FBI said. There are no police records of the rape. Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI.