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By Yereth Rosen

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - The disposable razor that a confessed serial killer used in his suicide in an Alaska jail last December was mistakenly issued to him by a prison employee, state officials said on Wednesday.

Israel Keyes, a 34-year-old contractor who told investigators he killed an Anchorage barista, a Vermont couple and at least five other people across the country over the past decade, was found dead in his Anchorage cell on December 2.

He slashed his wrist with the razor and used some bedding to strangle himself, officials said.

"It was learned a razor had been mistakenly issued to Keyes and it appears that razor was not retrieved," said a statement from the Alaska Department of Corrections.

Keyes' suicide cut short any further disclosures he might have made about his crimes or the identities of all his possible victims. Investigators have said the true toll from Keyes' crimes could be higher.

He had been awaiting trial for the kidnapping and killing of an 18-year-old barista who disappeared from an Alaska espresso stand in February 2012 and whose body was later found in an iced-over lake.

Five days before his death, Keyes was disciplined for possessing an object crafted into a handcuff key, the department said in its statement, which summarized a federal-state investigation of the suicide.

He obtained the razor despite being barred due to the makeshift key incident from using razors or anything metal, said Kaci Schroeder, spokeswoman for the Alaska Department of Corrections.

(Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Peter Cooney)

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