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. Abe

    Dear Abby dear Abby,
    My country's a mess. The right wants to kill you...unless you confess.

    March 16, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jake Santee

    Tx jack, that would work if the world was as simple as you.

    March 16, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mary

    What's sad is that this murder victim's story will be on I.D. Datelines channel as just another Murdertainment story. Never to be taken serious, except by her family!

    March 16, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. This_blank

    Wow everyone wants to kill this guy because of the way he looks i say give him his rights as an american & if hes found guilty then you beat him till he tells you where she is so her family can get closure

    March 16, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • DamnWereInATightSpot

      And so many others wanted to do the same to her Ex-bf cuz they thought he had something to do with it... guess the heat is off him now... or is it!

      March 17, 2012 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Dido

      If he was in the area of this abduction, and know in the lower 48, make him talk, and forget his so called rights.

      March 19, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  5. mrsm

    I say he gets a trial by a jury of his peers. Innocent until proven guilty. Whatever anyone feels is fruitless...that's why we have established a legal system in the United States of America.

    March 16, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Panties

      Is Alaska part of the United States of America? Do I need a passport to go there?

      March 17, 2012 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
    • BurstBubble

      Yes, people think innocent until proven guilty, yet in reality it is different. Actually in this country (USA) the reality now is that you are guilty until proven innocent. However, in this case this man having an "access device" doesn't sound like he is innocent. I'll wait for the trial and more evidence to come out.

      March 17, 2012 at 2:40 am | Report abuse |
  6. Debbie

    Well said, emily. Good job.

    March 16, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Papa Lazarou

    Jack Bauer time. Even if the fake tan puts me off.

    March 17, 2012 at 2:39 am | Report abuse |
  8. Donna

    What is a barista?

    March 17, 2012 at 6:53 am | Report abuse |
    • teresa

      fancy world for a coffee maker/ server... check it out on google ; ) or wiki

      March 17, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • nick

      hey donna never been to a Starbucks before folks we got a winner here only person to never try a frap or $4 cup of Joe

      March 17, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • SP

      A barista is someone who makes and serves coffee.

      March 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • cmc

      What is a dictionary?

      March 20, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  9. m.jones

    What do you want get rid of the illegal workers in this country you be doing something like in Alvin Texas and certain plant in Houston

    March 17, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  10. Easternsailor

    It is the Butcher Uncle Sam and the Boogie Man and it's a Dead Dog!

    March 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. John Lun

    Barista is not just a coffe server or maker is somoene who has special training about how coffe beans are grown and the different kinds of beans around the world.

    March 17, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thomas

      My daughter was a Batista at starbucks. Trust me, she did not get any specialized training. She just makes and serves coffee at inflated prices.

      March 18, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • akgrown

      ummm...i'm not sure how many barista's you know but when i did it in high school and college – we were taght how to make a hell of a cappuccino...but that's as far as our "specialized training" went. sorry!

      March 19, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ma & pa

    @ Mmmmm...agree. Maybe her kidnapper was raised up on "pawn" to believe his mindless rise overruled reason. "pawn" uses drug and shock on good women to get action and then forget it. If barista was pretty maybe she got "recruited". Talking perps might help uncover more crime.

    March 18, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joe piechi

    Can a guy be a Bikini Barista? I mean, just askin

    March 18, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. sue

    thanks steve i am glad you are who you are . what the public wants to know about sam, is, is she alive, was she trafficked to a 3rd world country, taken against her will, others involved, etc. keep the focus on finding samatha. thx from alaska

    March 18, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Hopeful

    For all you people saying that he is a sick man and should be killed and yes if he did do it then I would agree however not one of you knows the facts all you know is that there is a suspect. There has been absolutely NO evidence released proving that he did it (the so called evidence in his car that doesnt exist is just to make the cops look like they are doing there job when they so clearly are not). So what really makes me sick is that the world is full of people like all of you who are so quick to point fingers and blame someone else because your all to lazy to actually do the research that your all just willing to ruin an innocent man and his family's life just for your on sick satifaction.

    March 18, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • akgrown

      Hi Hopeful,

      It sounds as if you might be related to him. I'm sure his family is going through just as much pain as Samantha's. I can't imagine being in either shoes. I agree, he needs a fair trial before people form a lynch mob – however, if he is guilty, I hope you're able to come to terms with it, as it is a very real possibility.

      March 19, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
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