The following is the first chapter from the book “The Nomadic Devil: The True Story of Israel Keyes America’s Most Methodical Serial Killer Who Planted Murder Caches Nationwide”

Chapter One

A Monster on the Loose

February 2011.

It has been a tough month for the residents of Anchorage, Alaska. Tensions have been running high since a young, female barista disappeared from a local coffee stand on the night of the 1st. The girl’s family was understandably worried sick when she failed to return home after her shift, and their fear only grew when they began to receive strange text messages from her.

I’m going to my friend’s house for a few days. Tell my dad I love him. You won’t hear from me until I come home.

The girl’s boyfriend looked at the message in confusion. Why would she suddenly leave and not take any of her belongings with her? Which friend was she staying with? Why? These were questions with no real answers, because he knew on some level that every word was a lie. He had no way to prove his suspicions, but the more days went by without another word from her, the worse his worries grew.

Posters bearing her image and information had been put up all over the area. Her father offered a twelve thousand five hundred dollar reward for information leading to the girl’s return, and anyone who knew the man was sure he would have offered a lot more if he could have. He was a devoted single father, and not having her around was taking its toll on him, emotionally and physically.

On February 11th, over one thousand people attended a candlelight vigil at the town square park in downtown Anchorage. It was a touching scene, people from all over the community coming together to support the family.

Around that same time, another Anchorage resident was getting off a cruise ship near his hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was well aware of the news surrounding the missing girl, but this hardly ruined his vacation. If anything, it had only made getting away all the more enjoyable. He was quite content with the knowledge that he had information others desperately wanted, and he was in no hurry to share it.

This man knew exactly where the girl was.

No, he wanted to take his sweet, sweet time. Maybe he would never tell anyone anything—it was much more fun to watch people scramble for answers that would never be found, after all.

The man passed through Dallas, Texas, on his way back to Anchorage on the 16th. Now that his trip was over, he was getting bored again. After finding a suitable location, a thirty-five hundred square-foot house and barn, he seized the opportunity to have some fun. The man set a fire and soon both buildings were up in flames.

The locals stopped in their tracks and watched as the sky turned dark with smoke. Heat warped the air. The fire was so massive that they feared it would swallow everything around it. Yet, this stranger was totally unconcerned. It was as if the flames did not even exist to him. He stopped only to ask for directions before he took off.

The man was excited to get home. On the 19th, he was back in Anchorage. His young daughter had also returned to school and his girlfriend was at work. He always enjoyed his time alone.

He went to his shed and opened the large cabinet.

Inside, lay the frozen body of the missing girl.

He carefully removed her from the drawer. She was naked except for a tarp he had wrapped around her, though even this had not prevented her from making a mess inside the cabinet. The blood from the wound on her back had soaked the insulation lining the floor. Annoyed, the man cleaned up the scene and disposed of the tarp, insulation, and what was left of the girl’s clothing in his fireplace.

The rest of the day came and went. The man left the girl in the shed while he gathered the supplies needed for the next part of his plan. The return of his girlfriend the following morning did not slow him down, either. He had long ago made it clear to the woman that he did not like her interfering in his business.

He returned to the shed after a shopping trip for a camera, makeup, fishing line, and sewing needles. Among his haul was a newspaper he found in a dumpster. It was the February 13th edition, recent enough to make his plan believable.

Using the makeup, fishing line, and needles, the man set to work. It was not an easy task. Her skin had turned darker as she thawed, and the blood pooled beneath her skin. Her eyes were dull and blank, meaning they were best left closed. It took a lot of makeup and fishing line to make her look alive again.

The man snapped a few photos of her with his new camera. Then he typed up a ransom note. He had seen the news and was aware of how much money the girl’s father was offering, but he decided it was not enough. He demanded at least thirty thousand dollars to be deposited in the girl’s bank account in exchange for her return.

The thought of it all made him laugh.

Using the girl’s phone, the man sent another text to her boyfriend, giving him directions to a park where he had left the typed note and photograph. All that was left now was to get rid of the body. Luckily, he was quite handy with a saw.

On the 21st, the man headed towards Matanuska Lake with the girl’s dismembered remains in tow. He walked out onto its frozen surface and cut a hole in the ice before throwing her into the water. The body, held down by fishing weights, slowly sank to the bottom of the lake.

After a few more hours, the man packed up his belongings. He was happy to have caught a few fish and planned to cook them for his family’s dinner that night.

The fun was over for now. It was time to get back to his other life.

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Written by : Sajjad A

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