Monday, April 02, 2012

Police Find Samantha Koenig's Body In Matanuska Lake, Consider Israel Keyes The Suspect In Her Kidnapping And Murder

Update December 2nd: Israel Keyes was found dead in his jail cell at 6:45 A.M. on this date. Officials believe it to be a suicide. Updated post with numerous media links HERE.

The Anchorage Daily News and KTUU Channel 2 were first to report that Anchorage Police and the FBI have been conducting operations on the surface of still-frozen Matanuska Lake just east of the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center near the intersection of the Glenn and Parks Highways in the Mat-Su Borough on the afternoon of April 2nd, 2012. The law enforcement contingent included divers. KTVA Channel 11 reports that a large area around the lake was cordoned off, and a handful of orange and white tents were set up along the ice. Agents removed large chunks of the frozen lake surface with saws and snow machines, and about 20 people stood across the ice.

And the word from a just-concluded press conference is that the police confirm that they've found the body of Samantha Koenig, and that she was killed within hours of her abduction on February 1st. Her body was discovered around mid-morning, which means police had sufficient time for verification, although an autopsy will be conducted. Police believe the suspect in Koenig's abduction and murder acted alone, and that they also believe they have that suspect in custody. That means Israel Keyes is now a kidnapping and murder suspect. Officials said Koenig's abduction was believed to be a random crime, with no connection between the abductor and the Koenig family, and that charges in Koenig's abduction and murder were forthcoming.

-- Read the complete official statements from APD and the FBI HERE.
-- KTUU gallery of 28 photos HERE.

Obviously, the Koenig family was briefed on this before the press conference took place, but some people spilled the beans in advance. In the ADN comments section, Fionared wrote "Her body found. Was at Eagles when her grandfather was called fbi". Even before that, Gidget Trainor posted two messages on the Find Samantha Koenig Facebook page that presaged the worst; "I just got a call from my mom and she talked to my friend Sams mom, and all I can say is my heart is broke", and two minutes later, "This man is going to pay now for what he has done, OMG I am so sick, Oh Lord why??". Condolence comments are now pouring in to the ADN.

Progress in resolving the case really accelerated after Israel Keyes, who was arrested in Lufkin, Texas on March 13th, was returned to Alaska on March 27th, then pleaded not guilty in federal court to one count of access device fraud on March 28th. On March 30th, police assembled at Keyes' house and removed a storage shed from his property. Using shovels and sawhorses, they then loaded the structure onto a flatbed truck with a forklift and leaving with it about an hour later. The truck was followed by several unmarked law enforcement vehicles. The shed was taken to the FBI building in downtown Anchorage.

Police had also seized Keyes' white 2004 Chevy Silverado pickup. Detectives believe Keyes' may have received help installing a pair of green construction boxes in the back of his truck following Koenig's kidnapping. Investigators are requesting any people who have more information regarding the white pick-up truck to come forward, particularly anyone may have seen the truck in the area of Matanuska Lake in early February.

The Koenig family asks that the public respect their privacy at this time, although they welcome any messages of support posted on the Facebook page.

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