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. Tha Chikin

    This may sound crazy but, I think we should bring back the mideval practice of beating the answer out of him.

    March 16, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  2. Yoda

    I hope she is still alive.....!!!

    March 16, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  3. BOMBO ©

    Apparently, waterboarding is not torture. Just throwing it out there. Just in case any Texas cops are reading.

    March 16, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  4. Txjack

    Here is another example of why Capital Punishment should be mandatory in all States.

    It is time to end the Liberal BS. It has do nothing but fill out prisons with murders and rapists.

    If they are 100% GUILTY. Beyond a any doubt they put them to death.

    March 16, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • The Real Tom Paine

      Explain Haley Barbours pardons, then: he is hardly full of " liberal BS". Explain Mike Huckabee's pardons, one of which resulted in the death of 4 cops. What if you execute the wrong person? Your comment is typical rightie BS that ignores the failure of 3-strikes laws and other conservative legal failures.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Col. Jessup

      That's fine, but the number of times we know someone is 100% guilty with no doubt is few and far between. The truth – you can't handle it.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • rob

      You are part of the problem...

      March 16, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • iankearl

      I agree. However, the problem is you don't know if they are 100% guilty. Look at all those cases where the individual was convicted of crimes and then were acquitted once DNA testing became available. Even today, DNA testing isn't 100% accurate, though it is the closest thing we have. For example, my uncle, who was shot down over Vietnam ended and up MIA, was buried 10 years ago after DNA testing showed that it was 97% positive that those were his remains. Though, that is a pretty high percentage there is still a 3% chance for error.

      Someday there may be a way to determine that someone is 100% guilty. However, until there is further advancement in DNA testing, you just never know if you put the right individual behind bars. Unless they confess to the crime, however, 9 times out of 10 those who confess take plea deals and don't get what we, the people, would like as a punishment.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Duck amok

      Seems everything the GOP and extremist Christians don't agree with is labeled as liberal. Seems allowing people to kill people, according to your thought pattern, would be liberal if you consider abortions as killing a person.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Txjack

      The failure of the 3-strikes laws are a failure of the legal system and the liberal running it.

      If they are 100% GUILTY, beyond a any doubt and you have DNA evidence to prove it.

      Then they should get no appeals, no pardons just the Death Penalty.

      Sorry but for me to me the Death Penalty is a deterrent.

      Maybe I’m just an old man that was brought up when there was a different in the legal system

      Back then Robbery was 10 years and Armed robbery was 40 years, murder was the Death Penalty.

      Nowadays it is a slap on the wrist, rehabilitation and even murders get out of prison.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • jj

      Gee tx...looks like everyone's gaining up on you...but not me....I won't do it....awww what the hell, count me in. About this being 100% sure of when someone is found guilty, are they sometime say 90% guilty? I'm sure but I'm not absolutely sure? Let's sentence him to life cuz I'm not absolutely sure, but I'm pretty sure! Yea, that's the ticket.

      Being liberal, as some of the others pointed out, is not the point.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      Also, DNA is not available every time. Without a body, you don't have much of a case.

      March 16, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mme. Barista

      Why is this a partisan thing? Be quiet.

      March 16, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • TKO

      "Jesus don't like killin'
      No matter what the reason for,
      Your flag decal won't get you
      into heaven anymore"

      –John Prine

      March 16, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lokari

      You should perhaps research how many times a man has been put on death row – with 100% certainty that he was guilty – only to be exonerated and freed later on. Capital cases are tried by juries, which are comprised of regular citizens. Every one of those jurists is fallible. Every one of them carries with them their own prejudices. Every one of them can be swayed by prosecutorial rhetoric.

      The system is flawed, and can never be perfect. We must recognize that those flaws are inherent and unavoidable. Justice is not and cannot be served by compounding those flaws through capital punishment.

      March 16, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Corey

      Jack you do know this woman was abducted in a Alaska a red state right? You do know the suspect was arrested in Texas, another red state that happens to kill a lot of criminals. So tell me again how this is a Liberal problem when everything about this case took place in two of the reddest states in the U.S.?

      March 16, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • I'm a Liberal

      I'm a liberal and I agree in spirit with wanting to put violent people to death but as mentioned many times there is no 100% certainty on this and we would be putting innocent people to death. Many have been freed as DNA evidence methods improve. I can't even begin to think what it must be like to have lost your entire life behind bars for a crime you didn't commit.

      If you can live with putting innocent people to death, let's start with people like you.

      March 16, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • aj

      Pro death penalty, fine, but lay off the pro life i want gov't in the uterus crap okay?

      March 16, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Crocker's Common Sense

      I agree. They don't need to be living high off the hog in prison. Recycle their souls.

      March 16, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim C.

      Kill! Kill!

      March 16, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bohemer

      The problem is there were "beyond reasonable doubt" jury guilty verdicts and sentencings before, yet quite a few of those "culprits" were exonerated later, usually on DNA evidence..What do you say to that, smart one?

      March 16, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • DamnWereInATightSpot

      Me with reservations, one would tend to agree to allow a death row inmate to pick their poison and day. Yes let them have the glory of their euthanize. Heck add another step and let the victim or -agent of or by proxy- pull the trigger~. !!!!!

      March 17, 2012 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Easternsailor

      Do u know the Capital Punishment come from? The guilty in the European Nations never use the Capital Punishment! If u try to repeat in this Holy Earth and u r IT!

      March 17, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Allison

    Now James Koenig and the whole town need to apologize to the innocent person whose life he tried to ruin. Grief may make people do and say awful things but they crossed a line in threatening the family of a single father with a three year old child. Shame on you, Mr Koenig. Because of your actions, I have never felt any pity for your daughter or your family. Your daughter lived a lifestyle that invited this type of trouble, she put herself in this situation.

    March 16, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      You must be such fun at funerals and emergency rooms. Have I ever seen you pulled over at the roadside at a serious accident, beaking at unconscious people bleeding all over the asphalt?

      March 16, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Duck amok

      Please....go hang out in some dark alleys, will ya?

      March 16, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Alaskan

      There is more to this story. There will be others. No apology needed.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Moose

      wow, what a cold heart you have. CB put himself in that position. It ain't over yet.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • dave reddin

      Allison, you are a very sick individual. You should consider seeking treatment
      from a mental health professional. You aren't wrapped too tight.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • jj

      Relax folks...she's just putting you on to get a rise. real people don't think that way.

      March 16, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fiona

      @Allison, is the "single father with a three year old child" the young woman's boyfriend? Am I to understand that Samantha Koenig's father attempted a bit of frontier justice?

      March 16, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • emily

      I'm sorry, but I guess I'm a little confused- how does going to work at your job at a coffee stand equate to living a lifestyle that "invites" this type of trouble- you mean being robbed and kidnapped by a complete stranger? So everyone who works at a coffee stand is just asking to be robbed and kidnapped? So should everyone not work and stay home behind locked doors every day so as not to accidently put ourselves in this type of situation? You're right- I guess she was just asking for it.

      March 16, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mme. Barista


      March 16, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dana

      That was an evil thing to say Allison, lets hope the same thing happens to your daughter assuming your woman enough to have children.

      March 16, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. kayaker247

    I agree that this animal should be castrated and thrown off a cliff, but if prostetution was legal, I wonder how many lives would be saved. this psychopath probably just wanted to get laid and an innocent woman paid with her life. it's tragic... and it's so avoidable.

    March 16, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  7. artie2

    a bed of sharp thumbtacks for the waterboarding process. We want an answer!!!

    March 16, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mike in SD

    100% guilty? The story is that he was arrested, it doesn't even say he was charged. This is supposed to be a country of laws, you know, that liberal BS thing...due process. Hold you knee-jerk reaction. After a lynching is no time to start an investigation.

    March 16, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Deej59

      Ah, don't bother. The pro-death penalty commenters always serve as a working model of mob mentality. They're not interested in justice, they just have a morbid love affair with the suffering of others. Though you can bet they'll scream plenty about injustice when it's their turn to be accused of something they didn't do. And don't look for consistency. The same people who suggest life begins at erection (and want laws that say so) show up in comment sections for articles like this one, torches and pitchforks visible. It's pretty sick.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  9. kelli

    Keyes is just another example of a monster roaming our streets. I wouldn't doubt if he killed someone in Washington State while he was there. I hope he gets the death penalty once they find this poor girl's body. So he won't be able to harm another innocent girl.

    March 16, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  10. Rebecca

    @ Allison. Your statement made me ill. How can you say that? Have you read any of the threats Mr. Bird made to her father or the things he has said about Samantha?!! Let alone watched any of Mr. Bird's videos on youtube?? You do not have anything as proof that any of those statements about Samantha's lifestyle are true. Nothing more than what you have read and the conclusions your small mind has gathered. You should be ashamed of yourself. I am an Alaskan who stands behind Mr. Koenig and prays that Samantha is found soon!

    March 16, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Mme. Barista

      You just fed the troll.

      March 16, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Fiona

    I sure like to know what the "evidence linking him to an out-of-state kidnapping" was.

    March 16, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  12. clearfog

    I blame Israel.

    March 16, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ♔Mmmmm♕

    when sin fully matures...its fruit is death...i wonder how much the sin of pawnography influence this well as societal tolerance for these abuses directed toward women and children in the pawn industry with their filthy products...

    March 16, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I wonder why you would even bring this up, unless it's to further your own agenda.

      March 16, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. frank

    Allison, were you raised by wolfs, or just to awful for a father to stay around for. Your a Pig that dserves the lonley life you have

    March 16, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Albus

      Totally Agree!

      March 16, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. vic stevens

    I can"t beleave this person of interest is winning like he is already. You people in here are pretty much bashing each other. No bodies happy about what happen. But come on people, sometimes the best thing in life is keep silent. Everyones hurt. This could of been our child. But to sit here and make rude comments for the most part because you dont agree with someone posting on here. A sin is a sin. Were not criminals. Your just feeding into the same mentality that the suspect has. Act like adults....

    March 16, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
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