AD Header Dropdowns

AD Main Menu

Texas arrest made in missing Anchorage barista case

Ben Anderson

Anchorage police announced Thursday that a suspect in the case of missing barista Samantha Koenig had been arrested in Lufkin, Texas. 

Israel Keyes, a 34-year-old construction contractor who worked under the company moniker Keyes Construction, was arrested in Lufkin on Tuesday. A joint effort between the Anchorage Police Department, the FBI and Texas law enforcement led to Keyes' arrest, the full details of which were not immediately available as police said the federal arrest warrant is sealed.

Court documents filed in the Eastern Texas District Court said that Keyes had been charged with access device fraud, a charge commonly used when someone uses a debit or credit card without the card owner's consent. Also listed in the docket was a criminal complaint based out of Alaska. Keyes was due back in court in Texas early Thursday, according to the most recent filings Thursday evening.

Texas news station KTRE reported that Keyes was arrested in the parking lot of a restaurant after a traffic stop, where a Texas state trooper discovered there was an out-of-state bulletin for Keyes. Police searched the car and "found enough evidence in the vehicle to arrest the driver for suspected kidnapping," KTRE reported.

Koenig was abducted from the Common Grounds Espresso coffee shack where she worked on Feb. 1, by what police identified as an armed man wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt. Police said Thursday that Koenig's whereabouts remain unknown.

Anchorage Police Sgt. Slav Markiewicz said Thursday police still don't know where Koenig is. They're keeping details of the investigation out of the public view for now.

"We are not going to release details of what led us to him and other details at this time. It’s a sensitive investigation, we still don’t know where she is (and) we don’t want to do anything that would put this investigation in jeopardy,” he said.

He also hinted that the security camera footage taken from the coffee stand played little, if any, role in identifying Keyes. "As we said originally, if that surveillance camera would have helped us identify that suspect we would have released it at that time, but we didn’t," he said.

Markiewicz said that there was "no information or evidence" that Koenig and Keyes knew each other "before." 

According to the website for Keyes Construction under the "work history" section -- apparently written by Keyes himself -- Keyes worked in Washington and served in the U.S. Army before moving to Alaska in 2007.

Police are still asking anyone with information on Koenig's disappearance, and now particularly anyone with information about Keyes' whereabouts since Jan. 1, to contact them:

"We are seeking information from any and all individuals who have had personal contact with Israel Keyes since January 1, 2012, as well as information from anyone who has had any contact with him in the past through his business, Keyes Construction. People with information are asked to call the following number:  1-800-225-5324 OR 1-800-CALL-FBI."

Contact Ben Anderson at ben(at)alaskadispatch.com

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly referred to Israel Keyes as "Israel Keys" on first reference. We regret the error.