More on TV show's link between serial killer Israel Keyes and state official Gilbert Gilman's 2006 disappearance in Olympic National Park

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Gilbert Gilman, a top state government official who went missing in Olympic National Park on June 24, 2006, was last seen at the Staircase Ranger Station.

Self-confessed serial killer Israel Keyes, who committed suicide in Anchorage in 2012, was an avid hiker who lived in Neah Bay from 2001-07 and was issued “a few overnight backcountry permits” that allowed him access to the park during that time, park spokeswoman Barb Maynes told the Peninsula Daily News in an August interview.

She did not return calls for further comment Thursday.

The Investigation Discovery network's “Dark Minds” program will suggest a link between Gilman, a deputy director of the state Department of Retirement Systems, and Keyes in its April 2 program, which airs from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Channel 204 on Wave Cable in Port Angeles, Sequim and Port Townsend.

Phone 360-452-1278 for Wave Cable's Investigation Discovery network channels in other cities in Clallam and Jefferson counties.

“Dark Minds” is hosted by author and investigative reporter M. William Phelps, network spokeswoman Deborah Gottschalk said Thursday.

“He was able to uncover evidence that strongly suggests that hiker Gilbert Gilman was a victim of Israel Keyes,” Gottschalk said.

The FBI in August issued a public plea for tips on potential victims of Keyes, who is linked to the murders of 11 people between 2001 and 2012, five of whom were killed while he lived in Neah Bay.

The FBI tip line is 800-225-5324.

Keyes told agents he weighed down at least one body with anchors and dumped it from a boat into 100 feet of water in Lake Crescent west of Port Angeles.

The FBI said Keyes, who committed suicide at age 34 after admitting he murdered an 18-year-old Anchorage barista, sought many of his victims while hiking and camping and in remote locations.

Before his death, authorities said he admitted to at least eight slayings, from Vermont to Washington state.

Kevin Donovan, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's Anchorage office, said Thursday that while the FBI has received at least 100 tips as of January about Keyes, none has led to identifications of more victims.

Donovan did not have information Thursday on tips received by the FBI since then.

He would not say whether the FBI had explored the possibility that Keyes had something to do with Gilman's disappearance.

“We would not want some family member to read that we looked at a connection and have their first knowledge of that from reading it in a newspaper,” Donovan said.

But he said FBI investigative procedures suggest that agents would look into potential ties between someone who went missing in the same general area that a serial killer lived.

“As a matter of procedure, that would be a logical investigative step,” Donovan said.

He said he is looking into how much can be made public regarding Gilman.

Gilman, 47, of Olympia, was last seen by a park ranger at the Staircase parking lot near Hoodsport and Lake Cushman before apparently embarking on a day hike.

His silver 2005 Ford Thunderbird convertible was discovered parked there the following day after a co-worker said he did not show up for a business trip to Spokane.

Authorities described Gilman as being in good health with limited overnight hiking skills and carrying a camera but no backpack when he was last seen.

Gilman reportedly was nearly blind without his glasses.

He recently had moved from New York to the Pacific Northwest.

The 10-day search for his whereabouts included 62 people on the ground, four of whom had tracking dogs, and a helicopter and a small plane equipped with heat-seeking equipment.

They scoured nearby trails and ridges in the area, which includes steep, rocky hills, dense forest and the North Fork Skokomish River, and found no trace of him.

Gilman, a former Army paratrooper, served military duty in Panama, East Africa and Israel, and worked in embassies in Yemen and Mongolia.

He had combat experience with the 82nd Airborne and received two Bronze Stars.

He also worked as a civilian contractor for a year in Iraq and was an interrogator fluent in Arabic, Russian and Chinese.

Between 1995 and the time of Gilman's disappearance, there were 42 searches for lost hikers in eastern Olympic National Park, including four that ended in fatalities and one in which the person was never found, The Olympian reported.

In the 1980s, two hikers were lost in the Staircase area and never found, the newspaper reported.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: March 21. 2014 1:15AM
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