Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Confirmed: Human Body Found Near Eklutna Is NOT That Of Samantha Koenig, And More Details About Israel Keyes Emerge

Special Note: I re-titled and re-dated this post on March 22nd because the Anchorage Daily News published a major update on Israel Keyes. A summary of the new information is published in the last three paragraphs of this post.

On March 21st, 2012, the Anchorage Daily News reported that a human body was recovered late Tuesday March 20th from along the road to Eklutna Lake after a person who had been snowshoeing reported finding it in the woods. Anchorage police are investigating, and an autopsy is set for today to determine more about the decedent. This triggered speculation that Samantha Koenig might have been found.

Not so! The following message was posted on the Help Find Samantha Koenig Facebook page:

Hello everyone, The body recovered yesterday was NOT Samantha Koenig, it was a male. Our hearts go out to the family of that person. We would like everyone to continue to look for Samantha as she is still missing and presumed ALIVE! Please do not contact the family at this time, they are taking some quite time, but feel free to post here.

KTVA's report reflects the update. So that's good news for the Koenig family, although still bad news for the loved ones of the unidentified male.

Update March 22nd: The decedent has now been identified as Loy Suthammavong, a resident of Houston, AK, and is said to be the victim of a homicide. He had been first reported missing on December 6th, 2011.

Flyer distribution is still taking place in Alaska and elsewhere. Disturbingly. the local Home Depot and Lowe's outlets were reluctant to allow posting of Samantha Koenig flyers on their premises, although one sympathetic sales associate at the Midtown Home Depot agreed to look the other way. Other home improvement centers such as Spenard Builders Supply were much more willing to post flyers. The reason the home improvement centers are being solicited is because Israel Keyes owned Keyes Construction, and they're figuring someone in the trade might know something incriminating about Keyes and step forward. Update March 22nd: Upon visiting the Home Depot on Penland Parkway, I saw a Samantha Koenig flyer posted on the exit door. I did not see a flyer posted at the Midtown Lowe's.

As for Israel Keyes, he is not yet officially classified as a suspect in the disappearance of Samantha Koenig, but is considered a person of interest. He is charged with access device fraud, which could be the use of someone else's ATM card or credit card, and reportedly used the card IN ALASKA sometime between February 28th and March 13th. This means that Israel Keyes did not leave Alaska until March 13th at the earliest. In addition, Keyes was convicted of DUI after he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army; since Canada doesn't normally allow DUI offenders to enter their country until 10-15 years after the fact, this would tend to rule out Keyes transiting to the Lower 48 via the ALCAN Highway.

During his court appearance before a U.S. magistrate in Beaumont, Texas, Keyes agreed to waive hearings in Texas and have them conducted in Alaska instead. Read the six-page transcript HERE. However, he's now in the custody of the U.S. Marshal's service, and it could be a month before he is returned to Alaska.

Major Update: And on March 22nd, the Anchorage Daily News published a major update on Israel Keyes. When he was arrested, police found rolls of rubber-banded cash, a gray, hooded sweatshirt, glasses and a piece of gray T-shirt cut to make a face mask, and a stolen Alaska debit card. The card did not belong to Samantha Koenig, but to another Anchorage resident whose car was burglarized on February 2nd. The burglar was described as a unknown man wearing a ski mask and dark clothes. Then on February 28th and 29th, a person described as a light-skinned, muscular man made withdrawals on the card in Anchorage on February 28th and 29th.

Then a light-skinned male adult with a muscular build in a gray hooded sweatshirt, glasses, gray ski mask and gloves, driving what appeared to be a white Ford Focus sedan, made a series of withdrawals on the same card in the Lower 48. He withdrew $400 from an ATM in Willcox, AZ on March 7th. He attempted to withdraw $400 in Lordsburg, NM on March 8th. He withdrew $480 in Humble City, TX on March 10th. He withdrew $480 in Shepherd, TX on March 12th. On March 13th, he was stopped and arrested, driving the same sedan. Although Israel Keyes is suspected of being the man making all the withdrawals, he's only charged with access device fraud.

This account triggers several questions:

(1). Was it Israel Keyes who broke into the car and stole the ATM card on February 2nd? If not, how did he get it? The description of the person who broke into the car differs slightly from the description of the person making all the withdrawals.

(2). How did the person who took the ATM card obtain the PIN number necessary to access ATMs?

(3). Did the owner of the debit card make any attempt to contact the issuer and get it invalidated? If not, why not? If I had a debit card stolen, I would get it invalidated immediately.

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