“They brought in a lot of emergency vehicles,” he said. “I decided to go to a bank a little farther away.”
A neighbor who responded to a motorist asking for directions in the Annetta South neighborhood probably talked with Keyes, Padgett said.
The man noted the motorist was a white man driving a small car, a description that could have fit Keyes in his rented Kia Soul.
“It seems strange to me that he asked for directions in front of a burning house instead of showing concern for the people in the house,” Padgett said.
Padgett said he has trouble believing Keyes was able to observe the fire without being detected because several investigators combed the area.
“I wish I’d had the chance to talk with him,” Padgett said, “but I’m grateful to the FBI for helping me close my case.”
Keyes robbed the National Bank of Texas in Azle later that day, also admitting that to investigators.
During the robbery, he wore a hard hat, a surgical mask and sunglasses and displayed a handgun, forcing everyone to the floor before leaving with an unspecified amount of cash.
He later said he watched police arrive at the scene as he filled up the tank of his rental car at a nearby gas station.
Keyes was arrested March 13, 2012, about a month after the fire, in connection with the abduction and slaying of 18-year-old Alaskan barista Samantha Koenig, on Feb. 1, 2012.
After demanding a ransom for her return later in February, he was tracked down in Lufkin when he used a stolen
debit card, authorities say.
Following his arrest, Keyes led the FBI to Koenig’s body, located by a forensic dive team in a lake north of Anchorage.
Keyes also admitted to killing others, including Bill and Lorraine Currier, a Vermont couple in their 50s, in June 2011, according to interviews published by the FBI. Their bodies have not been located.