By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News
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“It's definitely possible,” the show's host, investigative journalist and author M. William Phelps says during the Investigation Discovery network's April 2 Season 3 premier of “Dark Minds.”
For two hours, Phelps' show focuses on the life and self-inflicted death of Keyes in 2012 at age 34 in Anchorage after he admitted abducting and brutally killing 18-year-old barista Samantha Koenig.
“I'm not saying I figured this out, that would be a misstatement,” Phelps says during the program.
“What I am saying is that it's definitely possible Keyes was responsible for Gilman's disappearance.
“I have yet to see anything that tells me it's not.”
The show, a copy of which was obtained by Peninsula Daily News, spends the final 30 minutes or so focusing on Keyes' stay in Clallam County from 2001-2007, when he lived in Neah Bay and worked for the Makah tribe, and after which he moved to Anchorage.
Keyes, who traveled extensively throughout the U.S., is believed to have methodically killed at least 11 people, including five while he lived in Clallam County, though authorities have never connected him with deaths or missing persons in Clallam or Jefferson counties.
“Dark Minds” will air on Wave Cable's Channel 204 in Port Angeles, Sequim and Port Townsend and Dish TV satellite service's Channel 192.
Keyes fits the program's title.
According to the program, Keyes was a necrophiliac who sewed open Koenig's eyes after he killed her as part of a ransom ruse.
Gilman, 47, of Olympia, was deputy director of the state Department of Retirement Systems when he was last seen June 24, 2006, at the Staircase Rapids trailhead near Hoodsport and Lake Cushman in Mason County.
He embarked on a hike while wearing flip flops and a Hawaiian shirt and carrying a camera when he vanished.
Keyes told the FBI he killed eight people, including five while he lived in Neah Bay and one whose body he dumped in Lake Crescent, which he told authorities he knew was 500 feet-700 feet deep.
Keyes frequented Port Angeles and was off Saturdays, the same day of the week Gilman went missing, according to Phelps.
“We know Keyes was near his home on that weekend,” Phelps said in the interview.
The shortest route from Neah Bay to Staircase at Hoodsport is 170 miles and takes 3 hours, 56 minutes, according to https://maps.google.com.
“Three or four hours is near there,” Phelps said.
“The show speaks for itself.
“We are presenting an idea, a theory.
“We are presenting the Gilman case as a missing person and looking at Keyes being a potential candidate for [being responsible for] that.
“The potential is there for him to have done it.
“What matters is getting the Gilman family answers.
“I am putting this out to an international audience in hopes something happens to it.”
In drawing a connection between Keyes and Gilman, Phelps said he relied heavily on researcher Molly Kaneski, who lived in Clallam County during the time Keyes lived in Clallam.
Kaneski's extensive biography of Keyes, Acting at Random: A Study of Israel Keyes, includes audio and video interviews with Keyes, photos, a surveillance video of Koenig's kidnapping and a video of Keyes robbing a Texas bank, which he did to finance his travels across the country, searching for victims.
Her study of Keyes biography is at http://israelkeyes.blogspot.com.
Keyes, who hunted his victims in remote areas such as parks, was a hiker who obtained two back-country permits from Olympic National Park's Ozette Ranger Station on the West End in 2005 and 2006, according to park records released Monday under a Freedom of Information Act request.
The one-night permits were issued Aug. 13, 2005, and June 17, 2006, seven days before Gilman went missing.
Keyes also placed 90th in the Olympic Discovery Marathon in Port Angeles on June 11, 2006, just nine days before Gilman went missing, Kaneski said.
The FBI has discounted any connection between Keyes and Gilman but would not comment on the specifics of its investigation.
The Seattle branch of the FBI is working in conjunction with the agency's office in Anchorage.
“FBI investigators find that it is highly unlikely that Keyes is connected to the unsolved disappearance of Gilbert Mark Gilman,” Kevin Donovan, the Anchorage division's assistant special agent in charge, said in an email last week.
Phelps said he found no connection between Keyes and two other men who went missing during the time Keyes lived in Neah Bay.
Stephen Mike Mason of Sequim was last seen June 20, 2006, at Dungeness-Forks Campground near Sequim in Olympic National Forest.
Delmar Sample, 53, of Onalaska, was last seen in the Lake Quinault area of Jefferson County in March 2005.
“There's nothing further to release about the FBI's review of unsolved cases in Washington state,” Ayn S. Dietrich, the FBI's Seattle office spokeswoman, said in an email last week.
“We typically do not release details about an ongoing investigation unless there is a specific exception,” she said.
“We did so with Mr. Gilman because it's important to our partners that they continue to receive tips that could help solve the case.
“If people think we are attributing his disappearance to a known subject, they may not think to continue coming forward with new information.”
Anyone with information about Keyes or his possible victims should call the FBI at 800-225-5324.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.