More Known About Serial Killer Israel Keyes Prior to Funeral
Service will take place in Washington State
ANCHORAGE - Jake Gardner says he never met Israel Keyes, but he knows Keyes’ family well.
Gardner is an elder with The Church of Wells in Wells, Texas.
Speaking from Colorado, Gardner told CBS 11 News on Thursday that he’s on his way to Washington State to preside over Keyes’ funeral on Sunday. He said the family chose a chapel near to where Keyes spent 14 years growing up.
Gardner is traveling with Keyes’ mother and four sisters -- the mother and three of the sisters are also members of The Church of Wells.
"They are grieved, it's a grief for a brother and a son and a soul," Gardner told CBS 11 News.
"It was surprising to say the least," he said, describing how the family felt when he was arrested.
On Wednesday, Gardner told television station KTRE in Wells, Texas, “We are not glad that Israel Keyes is in hell, we believe he is, but we are not glad at that.”
Gardner said the family knew nothing about the eight murders, including that of Samantha Koenig, and several bank robberies that Keyes confessed to committing.
According to Gardner, Keyes visited his family in the Lower 48 numerous times between June 2011 and his arrest in March 2012.
One of the visits was after he murdered Vermont couple Bill and Lorraine Currier in June 2011.
“When the family asked why he went to Vermont, Keyes told them he just wanted time to himself,” Gardner told CBS 11 News.
Gardner said Keyes also visited his family after the murder of Samantha Koenig in February.
The family told Gardner about one particular visit when Keyes and some of his family went into the woods and the family shared their experience about joining the Church of Wells. The family told Gardner that Keyes broke down crying, but never revealed his crimes.
The family said Keyes was very emotional on several occasions when he visited them, including at his sister's wedding.
"Even at the wedding the lord pled with him, pled with him, in the midst of it all he wept, broke down weeping, bawling, even wailing, but he would not repent,” said Gardner.
Gardner told television station KTRE in Wells, Texas, that Keyes spoke with one of the pastors in the church and said, “not everyone has morals like you… not everybody has your morals.”
Even though he said he was an atheist, Israel Keyes' funeral is scheduled to be held in a chapel at a funeral home.
“I’m worried about the funeral because of the animosity towards Keyes,” said Gardner.