Arrest made in case of missing Alaska barista
March 16th, 2012
07:35 AM ET

Arrest made in case of missing Alaska barista

[Updated 6:03 p.m.] Police in Lufkin, Texas, have made an arrest in the case of a barista abducted from an Anchorage, Alaska, coffee stand in early February, Anchorage police said Friday.

Israel Keyes, a construction worker from Anchorage, was arrested after a traffic stop in the Texas city on Tuesday, Anita Shell,  Anchorage Police Department public information director, told CNN.

“He was arrested for fraud and related activity in connection with access devices, which is a felony,” said Shell, adding that she couldn't comment further because the arrest warrant in the case has been sealed.

The arrest was a multi-force effort by the Anchorage police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, local law enforcement agencies in Lufkin, Texas, as well as the Texas Rangers.

Samantha Koenig, an 18-year-old barista, was snatched from her parking lot coffee stand by a hooded man on the evening of February 1.

Authorities still need the public's help in finding the missing woman as well as information related to Keyes since January 1, the Anchorage police said in a statement released Friday.

"He's the only person charged in this case," Anchorage Police Detective Slawomir Markiewicz told reporters on Thursday. Police would not elaborate on details of what the detective called a "sensitive" case.

The detective said police have no evidence that Keyes and Koenig knew each other before the abduction.

"We don't have information about her whereabouts or her well-being," Markiewicz said. "We still don't know where she is. We don't want to do anything that would put this investigation in jeopardy."

Markiewicz said police know when Keyes went to Texas but he would not give any details.

Police  arrested Keyes after finding evidence in his vehicle linking him to an out-of-state kidnapping, Texas law enforcement officials said, according to a report on

Keyes is being held in a federal detention facility in Beaumont, Texas, Shell said. Anchorage detectives have been in Texas for several days investigating the case, she said.

In Anchorage, police have searched the home where Keyes lived and are asking for anyone who has done business with Keyes' one-man construction company to contact them, the Anchorage Daily News reports.

A website for that company says Keyes moved to Alaska in 2007 after previous jobs in Washington state and three years in the Army.

Koenig's abduction sparked fear in one of the hallmarks of the Anchorage community, its numerous coffee stands. Baristas reported taking increased safety precautions after Koenig was taken.

soundoff (110 Responses)
  1. Desert1

    No there should not have to be we have to wait,we need to talk to him in a way that he takes us to where the girl is dead or alive,her family needs to know now not later,all of you who want this mans rights upheld are not the victim or her family,the only people who have rights are the family and the police interrogator who should have the right to get the truth right now.

    March 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. akgrown

    I worked as a barista in Anchorage right out of high school (in 2003) and back then, we carried pepper spray with us! As much as I love my hometown, Anchorage has gotten scary. There should have been precautions put in place before this! It's so sad that her family is being put through this, but I'm glad Anchorage is getting the reality check it so desperately needs. I'm looking forward to hearing more about this case as it progresses, it's so strange for APD to be so tight lipped about any matter, especially a missing woman.

    March 19, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. reelamerican

    Didn't Bush take away those silly rights can't we waterboard this fella to find this girl or did OBAMA steal another valuable tool from law enforcement that Republicans past to help secure America from Terrorists

    March 20, 2012 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Jared

      You are garbage.

      February 7, 2013 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MaggieJS

    Are you sure she's from Alaska? She looks a lot like Jerseylicious.
    Anyway, I'm sorry she met a bad fate. Hope they got the right guy.

    March 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • j johanson

      Maybe it should a bin you!!

      March 26, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  5. Minorkle

    A young girl disappears and is probably dead and some people think this is fodder for jokes and snarky comments. I hope they never experience tragedy and loss in their lives. They won't find it to be funny then.

    March 20, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Glenn

      You're right...

      March 20, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Big G

    Police arrested Keyes after finding evidence in his vehicle linking him to an out-of-state kidnapping

    March 21, 2012 at 5:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. Chase

    How could someone steel a person its not right.

    March 21, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  8. lacylynn72

    The ides of capital punishment did not start in America, take a history class or at least Google before you say somethiing stupid.As the death penalty has been established as a punishment for crimes as far as 18th Century BC, the Code of King Hammurabi of Babylon.

    February 7, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
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