How Are Israel Keyes and Maura Murray Connected?

Updated on August 14, 2019
Em Clark profile image

Em is an armchair detective who falls asleep listening to true crime podcasts.

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you know a little something about Maura Murray’s hotly debated and theorized disappearance back in early 2004. Just in case you need a refresher, Murray was 21 when she was last seen after a minor car accident in Woodsville, New Hampshire. According to New Hampshire’s cold case unit, when police arrived at the accident, Murray wasn’t there and there’s been no trace of her since.

Did Murray simply walk away to start a new life? Did she succumb to the elements? Or had she become a convenient target for a not-so-good Good Samaritan? Though the police don’t believe she met with the latter, a lot of armchair investigators do. Some of them even believe she might be connected to a serial killer, specifically the highly irritating Israel Keyes.

Why Would Maura Be Connected to Israel Keys?

Well, Keyes has only ever been linked without a doubt to the murder of Samantha Koenig in 2012 and is highly suspected of the June 2011 double murder of Bill and Lorraine Currier based on conversations with law enforcement, as well as evidence found on his personal computer and recovered items they believe to be belonging to the Currier's. Beyond these three victims, we don’t know for sure who else, if anyone, was a victim of Keyes, though he led police to believe that he was a cunning killer with a victim count of “under a dozen,” according to interrogation interviews.

His insistence of “under a dozen” gave law enforcement the magic number of eleven, and this vague victim count had Websleuths and Reddit buzzing with possible Keyes/Missing Persons connections, including Murray’s.

The theory here is that when Murray had her car accident in 2004 she met foul play at the hands of Keyes, either because he was in the area and happened across her as a victim of opportunity or even that he might have stalked her beforehand and made her disappearance look like the result of a car accident since he bragged during police interviews that some of his alleged murders were ruled accidents by law enforcement.

Maura Murray's missing person poster.
Maura Murray's missing person poster.

Possible Connection Theories

I’m going to be really upfront here. I don’t think Israel Keyes has squat to do with Maura’s disappearance, but we’ll get to that later. For now, here are the most popular running theories on Keyes/Murray connections.

Maura Was Travelling Through Israel’s “Stomping Grounds”

According to the internet, Maura’s travels through New Hampshire put her in a prime location to be hunted by Keyes who is said to have favored the east coast. Indeed, he murdered the Curriers in Vermont and was known to have travelled to New Hampshire and New York. However, the Currier murders took place seven years after Maura’s disappearance and could be tracked through flight records and car rentals. To call the east coast his “stomping grounds” is a solid stretch after a quick study of Keyes’ known movements which rarely brought him to that side of the country in comparison to his time spent in Alaska (the location of his only confirmed murder), California and Washington.

Israel Was Travelling During the Week That Maura Murray Disappeared

On February 9th, 2004 the same day that Maura disappeared, Keyes was tracked to Utah where he had rented a silver Volkswagen Jetta that was not allowed to leave the state. Over the week of February 6th through the 13th he racked up just over 500 miles on this rental, so we know he couldn’t have used this vehicle to get to New Hampshire, where Murray was last reported to have been seen.

However, some believe that Keyes could have used this rental to drive to and from a nearby airport, hopping a flight to the east coast and giving him enough time to return to Utah following Murray’s disappearance. Keep in mind though that in order to do this, Keyes would have had to have used a name not known to authorities while he travelled, since the FBI has an extensive timeline of his movements using his own name from the summer of ‘97 to his death in 2012.

Here's the distance Keyes would have had to have travelled between February 6th and February 9th, 2004 in order to be in the same place as Maura Murray on the 9th.
Here's the distance Keyes would have had to have travelled between February 6th and February 9th, 2004 in order to be in the same place as Maura Murray on the 9th.

Israel Was Known to Be in New Hampshire in October of 2004

Perhaps the most intriguing and least buzzed about Murray/Keyes connection is the fact that the FBI has placed Keyes in Manchester, New Hampshire from October 6th to the 16th in 2004, only eight months after Murray was last seen. Even weirder, Manchester is only 105 miles from Woodsville, Murray’s last known location, which is a measly 2 hour drive via I-93 from where Keyes was during that fall. Why was he there? We do know that in Koenig’s case, Keyes was straight up creepy in the comments section of news stories following her murder. Here he uses his own name to comment on a story about Koenig’s disappearance, which, in a way could be viewed as returning to the scene of the crime.

Was he doing this by returning to New Hampshire or was his visit following Maura Murray’s headline-breaking case a total coincidence?

Israel Keyes' drivers license photo and mugshot following his arrest for the murder of Samantha Koenig.
Israel Keyes' drivers license photo and mugshot following his arrest for the murder of Samantha Koenig. | Source

3 Reasons to Doubt a Connection Between Keyes and Murray

1. Maura Murray’s Disappearance is Too Clean to Connect to Keyes

In Keyes’ only confirmed killing, he kidnapped Koenig from the place she worked and was wearing a ski mask when he did it, demanded ransom, used Koenig’s bank account, had a run in with her boyfriend and left those weird comments on news articles before his capture.

He was, by all accounts, super freaking sloppy and it only took law enforcement weeks to track him down. In the case of Murray, there isn’t even a sketch of a person of interest, yet alone any forensic evidence linking the two to one another the way we see in the Koenig case.

Add in the Currier's and, while they never recovered the Curriers they did find forensic evidence on Keyes' computer that they feel connects him to their disappearance.

Although killers like Ted Bundy were known to get sloppy towards the end of their crime timeline, there’s no evidence to suggest Keyes was actually ever clever to begin with. If Murray did suffer an awful fate at the hands of another, it was someone with more finesse—and perhaps more resources and connections—than Keyes.

2. We Don’t Know For Sure That Murray Met With Foul Play

I think, for the sake of Murray’s loved ones, that foul play can’t be ruled out.

The days leading up to her last known whereabouts were strange, and it doesn’t add up that one minute she’s witnessed at the site of her crash and the next it’s like she’s vanished into thin air. But the truth is, no one knows for sure what happened to Murray, whether she succumbed to the elements in a secluded area or simply walked away. Without definitive proof of what became of Maura Murray, it’s difficult to connect her to Israel Keyes.

3. There Are Better Suspects for Murray’s Disappearance

If Murray did meet with foul play, there are better suspects than Keyes. I don’t feel at liberty to name those suspects, since the whole thing has turned into a bit of an internet troll circus but a quick Google search will bring up a few legit sources looking into people who were confirmed to be near the scene on the day that Murray was last seen.

And for the sake of Maura, time is likely better spent investigating these leads than chasing the ghost of a murderous narcissist who probably wasn’t as notable as he tried to appear in his last few months.

Know something about Maura Murray’s disappearance?

Contact the New Hampshire state police through Maura's official missing page.

Questions & Answers

  • The first time I heard about the Keyes case was on the Crime Junkie podcast. Now I hear that Crime Junkie is being accused of plagiarizing their show. Is this true?

    It's not true until it's been proven and so far there's no evidence to prove that Crime Junkie and it's hosts Brit Prawat and Ashley Flowers plagiarized any of their content.

    Starting around August 12th, 2019, rumors swirled on Reddit, Twitter and Facebook that the podcast was copying research from other podcasters and journalists. The problems with these rumors is that so far, none of them are substantiated by hard proof that plagiarism indeed occurred by failure to cite sources. In fact, on Crime Junkie's official site you can find a full episode list with the sources for each individual episode listed and linked.

    If you want to dig into legalities here, Crime Junkie, Flowers and Prawat have almost certainly lawyered up and if individuals continue to post claims of plagiarism against the duo without valid sources, they may find themselves up against the podcast in some hefty defamation suits in the near future.

    This whole mess can serve as a reminder to content creators from every corner - cite your sources and cite them often, both verbally and in writing! It can also serve as a reminder to anyone tempted to post rumors to social media, that anything you post can be screenshotted and used against you legally. If you make false claims (or claims without evidence) you may find yourself in a legal pickle.

  • Did Israel Keyes have a daughter?

    He did have a daughter, who was in his care at the time of his arrest in March of 2012. Not much is known about her publicly - and for good reason. Being the daughter of Keyes, a confirmed murderer and the suspected serial killer comes with a heavy load.

    As Melissa Moore, daughter of convicted serial killer Keith Jesperson (The Happy Face Killer) wrote for the BBC in a 2014 article titled 'My Evil Dad: Life As a Serial Killer's Daughter' - "Somehow I ended up feeling that I had to pay restitution for his crimes. I felt dirty, I felt less of a person, I felt isolated, I felt alone."

    The best thing onlookers like you and I can do for the children of serial killers, murderers and other types of criminals is to view them with compassion just as you would any other victim. Indeed, they are.

© 2019 Em Clark


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