Catfish’s walls test positive for meth. A woman describes being drugged and held captive there for days. Catfish watches a torture video on the dark web. Photos & video reveal Catfish’s basement.
Be Scofield is the author of the new book Hunting Lucifer: One Reporter's Search for Cults and Demons. Her reporting is mentioned in the NYtimes, Rolling Stone, People and more. -> Follow on Facebook
UPDATE 9/23/2022: Catfish John Keenan was found dead in Raleigh, NC.
November 15th 2021
In December of 2015 “Catfish” John Keenan loaned his friend “Kelly” $500 to help her buy a new car. When she came by one evening, Catfish offered her some LSD but she refused as she was on probation and was no longer using drugs or partying. He kept pressuring her. “I told him no, I don’t fuck around with it,” she said. “It’s New Years, let’s party,” he told her as he continued to try to convince her. She refused again and again. He wouldn’t give up, however, and she finally relented and placed the tab on her tongue.
Whatever was on the tab wasn’t LSD, Kelly told me. “I disappeared for three days,” she said. “I was stuck there.” She said she was completely out of it and had lost her capacity to make decisions. She recalls being told to do things and doing them without question. “Catfish told me to take a shower, and I tried, but it was so gross,” she told me. “I saw needles in there and so I locked myself in the other room.” At another point, she was told to smoke something, and she did. “I was unable to take care of myself.”
While much of what happened was fuzzy, she remembers certain things. “I guess I got aggressive with him,” she told me. “I remember coming to and he had a gun pointed at me and said ‘why the fuck did you do that, my ears are bleeding.'” There was a laser pointing on my chest.” It looked like a large rifle, she said. Friends confirmed that Catfish owned an AR-15. He said she had hit him, but she doesn’t remember what happened.
“I remember coming to and he had a gun pointed at me…”
She recalls being curled up in a blanket in a room for much of the time. She said a few people came over, including “Jack.”
“My mom had a bad feeling,” Kelly told me. “She had been searching for me for days and came down from New Mexico to look for me.” Her mother reached out to Kelly’s ex-husband and he knew she knew Catfish, so he checked his house. When he found Kelly’s van in his driveway, he called her mother but was too hesitant to go inside and get her.
Kelly’s brother came over and walked into the house. “Get my sister now! She’s coming with me!” he told Catfish. “I was so out of it and confused,” Kelly said. She stumbled out of the house with her brother. Later on, Catfish said something she found disturbing. “I wasn’t sure if I should have released you to your brother,” he told her.
“Part of me wonders if I was raped when I was there,” Kelly told me. Catfish told her boyfriend that they had sex, but there was never an occasion where Kelly remembers having sex with him. “After, Catfish started texting me and sent me sexually explicit stuff and was hinting that we had sex,” she told me.
Kelly thinks Catfish may have used a substance called scopolamine or “Devil’s breath” at some point. It comes from a plant in Columbia and can render people unconscious. “The compound is said to lead to hallucinations, frightening images, and a lack of free will. Amnesia can occur, leaving the victim powerless to recall events or identify perpetrators.” It’s rumored that it can be used as a powder, blown into someone’s face to render them unconscious.
“What happened to Kristal could have happened to me,” Kelly told me. Kelly’s ordeal at Catfish’s happened just six months before Kristal disappeared.
A WOMAN NAMED “ANGELA” WHO cleaned the Airbnb next to Catfish’s house told me he attacked her in 2015 and may have drugged her. “He was punching me over and over again, hitting me with his fists,” she said. “I was crouched down like a catcher, covering my head. My hands blocked my face,” she told me. “He told me he was going to send four Mexican guys to kill me.” The next thing she knew she was waking up on the couch, seemingly having been drugged. She called friends for help. “I could hardly walk, it felt like I was leaving my body. My friends were walking with me over their shoulders.” She told me she laid in bed for three days very tired, scared and confused, trying to figure out what happened.
“He was punching me over and over again, hitting me with his fists.”
This woman had confronted Catfish at his house because one of his drugged up friends went to the Airbnb while guests were staying there and acted highly strange. As a result the Airbnb guests demanded a refund. “I told him I knew he was selling drugs and that everyone was doing drugs there,” she told me. She called the police in front of him but somehow deputy Wayne Clark went to the wrong place. She walked back to the Airbnb and Catfish showed up and attacked her.
She played audio messages Catfish sent after where he stated, “is there anything I could do to allow you to be comfortable enough to let me be me? We got off to a rocky start…those things aren’t true about the drugs…” He said he likes pot but that’s it.
IN 2013 A WOMAN NAMED “Tiffany” (alias) filed a police report and alleged that Catfish John Keenan drugged and raped her. Keenan had come to a party at her home with her group of friends and he offered to make her a drink. She had been sober up until that point in the evening. The next thing she remembers is waking up with Catfish naked, raping her in her bedroom. “I lost my shit and forced him off of me,” she told me during an interview. After he wouldn’t leave she threatened to get her gun and shoot him which finally forced him out. She, nor her friends knew Catfish prior to him playing cornhole with them at a bar that night. See her full account of what happened here.
“JOHN HELD ME UP WITH an AR-15,” his long-term house cleaner “Beth” told me. “He told me ‘You’re not going home until I say you can. I’m not letting you leave until I’m ready.’” She said she just sat there a few feet away from him for three hours and waited for him to fall asleep and then fled. Her partner who also cleaned for Catfish convinced her to keep cleaning for him as he said Catfish was just “all show.” She was young and naive, so she did.
Earlier that evening Catfish had shown Beth a disturbing video. “I was cleaning upstairs and he was on the dark web and showing me this video and it looked like a torture video, a woman squirming in a hole, bugs all over her. A horrible video. He asked me, ‘Do you feel like this is a torture video?’ She had bugs all over her and she was squirming and it was clearly some type of torture video. ‘Do you think it’s bad?’ he asked me.”
“…he was on the dark web and showing me this video and it looked like a torture video, a woman squirming in a hole, bugs all over her.”
Beth told me she was traumatized by the incident. And the way Catfish John was so nonchalant was disturbing. “I said something about it and he was like ‘people do this type of shit all the time.’ It was like he was trying to see if I was into it.” He told her he would “monitor the dark web” for material like that and report it but she said he never reported anything.
“He knew how to access the dark web and block his path along the way so he wouldn’t get found out,” she told me. “I think he knew how to code too.” She said Catfish was on the dark web a lot.
These three women are speaking out for the first time ever to shed light on the abuses perpetrated by Catfish.
Kristal’s boyfriend “Ethan” told me that she found “disgusting and incriminating photos” while held captive at Catfish’s two weeks before she disappeared.
“He had guns stashed inside of the wooden bed frame,” Beth said. “An AR-15 and handgun in the bed, a handgun in the couch and a closet full of swords and BB guns. He had silencers to put on the tips of his guns. I’ve seen Brendan and Catfish with a sawed off shotgun.”
“Brendan had told me that Catfish had drugged people multiple times.”
In the Up and Vanished podcast, another woman recalled how Catfish briefly held her hostage in his upstairs loft. “So I was trapped there, and he had a gun, for over an hour at least, ripped these prayer beads that he had given me off of me.” When Catfish’s father stopped by, she escaped. “I could have been held there for hours…I may have disappeared,” she said. She said Brendan Pulver always warned her to not drink a beer or cocktail from Catfish unless it was unopened. “[Brendan] had told me that [Catfish] had drugged people multiple times.” The podcast played one of Catfish’s phone messages to her and after threatening her he said “Want to get dosed?”
These accounts are similar to what Kristal Reisinger said happened to her just a few weeks before she disappeared. She told a three people that she had been drugged, raped and held captive at Catfish’s. She then disappeared two weeks later, after somehow ending up back at Catfish’s.
THERE WAS SO MUCH METH residue on the walls of Catfish John Keenan’s house that the new owners are having to get the walls professionally remediated. Catfish’s mother, Alice Ragland, bought the home in 2009 for $130,000 but because of the positive test for meth residue and because the home had been stripped bare, she sold it for $100,000 in a cash deal on January 12th, 2020. That’s very cheap for Crestone’s booming housing market.
Several people told me Catfish’s house was a filthy drug den type of place. One person who had been to Catfish’s told the podcast it was “super, super messy, like hoardy-type looking stuff.” Another said there was junk piled everywhere to the door.
Someone who had partied there frequently told me, “there were drugs everywhere, piles of them.” Another friend of Catfish’s said, “You’d have to walk around tables with meth, pot, cocaine on them.” He’d buy drugs in large quantities and sell them and “couldn’t function” unless he was high, according to a friend.
“He always had drugs everywhere,” Beth the house cleaner said. “Pills all over the floor, he always had heroin and lots of weed.” She said Catfish would order chemicals online to create homemade drugs, a claim that others have told me as well. “He called it cocaine…he’d buy white powders and chemical drugs online and he’d mix them all together and then he’d do a bunch of it.”
Kelly said Catfish may have used a powder called scopolamine to render her unconscious. It’s plausible given his history as a self-made “chemist” ordering powders and making drugs.
“He always had drugs everywhere…pills all over the floor, he always had heroin and lots of weed.”
“I’m still missing my fucking pills,” Catfish said on a voicemail to a woman in Crestone on the podcast. “Who did you bring over and what is his name?”
According to friends who knew Catfish well, his drug habits progressed over the years. Around 2007, he was using a lot of amphetamines in pill form. He had a prescription and would get “tons” of Adderall from the doctor. Then he was in a car accident in late 2007 or 2008 and was taken on the flight for life to Denver with a traumatic brain injury. He became agoraphobic. For the next two years he was in an out of a Malibu rehab center, but he conned them into thinking he had a heroin habit. As a result, he got on a heavy dose of Suboxone. When he got back to Crestone, his habit progressed to heroin and meth. “And of course he was always into psychotropic drugs,” his friend told me.
One time Catfish and his friends were smoking meth in the living room as Beth cleaned the loft and it smelled so bad she had to leave. She said it was Brendan Pulver, “Little Mikey,” Dready Brian and Catfish. “The smell made me sick,” she told me.
“I’ve never seen anybody trash a place like that person could,” Beth told me. “It was always super nasty.” She said one time Catfish fell asleep with ice cream on his lap and it spilled all over his computer. But the ice cream would just sit there for months and get moldy. He would spill soda on expensive computers too.
“Catfish would spend thousands of dollars a day,” Beth said. “He got 12-14 packages every day for years. I remember the UPS driver named Brian would deliver them all.”
Another friend of Catfish’s said he would get three or four deliveries per day from UPS and FEDEX. Catfish showed him a quarterly bank statement that had $450,000 in it and was under the impression that the family had millions. “Catfish told me his grandfather was a co-founder of Lockheed Martin,” his friend said.
“His mom’s bank account was linked to Amazon and he’d buy like 20 computers at a time, beds, couches, TVs, Airsoft guns,” Beth told me. “He’d spend thousands and thousands of dollars. I’ve seen bank account numbers and it was hundreds of thousands of dollars,” she said. “The mother was loaded. Catfish had a limit on his Amazon account and it was like $117,000.”
Beth said Catfish’s parents would buy him everything he wanted. “If he wanted something, he got it all the time. I’ve never seen such a spoiled person in my life. He was like a 4-year-old.”
“I told Pat Catfish was doing drugs and other stuff but Pat would just throw a few extra hundred dollars at me.”
Beth recalled a time when Catfish had ordered a lot of bear mace. “He was arguing with his father Pat and sprayed the bear mace all over Pat’s eyes and face. Pat just sat there on the couch holding his eyes in pain and didn’t do anything.”
Beth said Brendan Pulver was “always there” at Catfish’s and that the two of them were constantly doing “shady stuff.” The friendship was rocky however and they’d often get into fights.
One time Beth walked into the house right after Catfish had been zip tied by his knees, ankles and wrists. “He said Brendan Pulver tied him up and left him like that for several days, like the whole weekend,” she told me. Catfish’s father Pat was there and he had found him on the floor. “John was really sick and his knees were extremely swollen,” Beth said. He was most likely going through withdrawals given his drug addictions.
“Brendan Pulver tied him up and left him like that for several days…”
A former neighbor of Catfish John’s also told me about a time when Brendan and Catfish had got into an argument and Brendan shot at him, supposedly through the hand.
“I’ve seen John hold Brendan up with a gun,” Beth told me. “John was always shooting at Brendan. I’ve seen him do it 3 or 4 times. John would say, ‘I’m gonna shoot you,’ and just open fire as Brendan was leaving down the road.”
Little Mikey was burning a pair of his blood-soaked pants in the fireplace.
One of the more disturbing things Beth saw at Catfish’s was a guy named Michael Gonzalez aka “Little Mikey” burning a pair of his blood-soaked pants in the fireplace. “He said he woke up with blood on his pants and he didn’t know where it came from,” Beth told me. Normally you would throw away or wash stained clothes, not burn them, however. And why would you have blood soaked pants Beth wondered. She said this was within the time-frame of when Kristal disappeared but couldn’t remember the exact date.
I FIRST WENT INSIDE CATFISH’S home in June 2020 with a friend of Kristal’s. It had been completely gutted as his father, Pat Keenan, dragged him back to Raleigh. We found an 18-inch wide hatch door on the floor of a closet that led to a large basement-like crawl space, but there was no ladder and we could not go down.
Later that night, I mysteriously met one of Nate Maxwell’s ex-girlfriends. Nate was close with Catfish and described as a “major drug dealer for Crestone.” His ex-girlfriend told me that Nate had told her Kristal had been kept in Catfish’s basement.
I returned to Catfish’s home in August 2021 and connected with the new owners. The three of us searched the basement dirt floor area that was the size of the home and approximately 5 feet high. I found an unused condom dated to 2014 and some beer bottle caps.
The new owners told me that Pat Keenan had made it very clear to the police that they could not search the property.
In July 2020 I notified Sheriff Dan Warwick of the basement. He was unaware, and I shared that sources claimed Kristal had been kept there. He told me he could not enter without probable cause.
The new owners told me that Pat Keenan had made it very clear to the police that they could not search the property.
In January 2021, having heard stories about Kristal, the new owners contacted the Sheriff. He and Captain Wilson spent 30 minutes searching the basement. “They had some forensic gear like swabs and left with a few small bags,” they told me. “They found some sage and crystals as well.”
The owners and I searched the property around the house, where we found a used AR-15 bullet, a short shotgun shell, and several types of hunting arrows. I also found a nitrous oxide canister, commonly known as a “whippet.” “He was doing some whippets for sure,” close friend of the inner circle, “Ryan” told me in an interview.
They pointed out the metal grates covering the small basement windows were bent and had appeared to have been pushed out from the inside. There was also a noticeable dark spot, slightly indented on the floor of the loft that looked like it had been stained with something or burnt.
Beth said there had always been a metal safe bolted to the floor over the basement door in the closet. But during the deep clean she and her partner did just a few weeks after Kristal had disappeared the safe was gone.
If Catfish had kept Kristal in his basement, it’d make sense what his neighbor told me he saw one night just weeks after she disappeared.
“We saw Catfish and Dready Brian standing outside of a minivan in Catfish’s driveway…It was pouring rain and they had two shovels leaned up against the van. And a white comforter wrapped around something and it was duct taped closed.”
READ PART III: AN ANGEL DISAPPEARS
Please support: I received no money for reporting on Kristal Reisinger’s story nor will I make money from these many months of reporting. Please consider donating so I can continue reporting. Thank you!