Israel Keyes has been labeled a person of interest in 18-year-old Samantha Koenig's abduction and while law enforcement confirmed that they now have a suspect in custody, they have yet to disclose how exactly the Anchorage-based construction contractor has been linked to her tragic death.
"Investigators further believe that the person responsible for Samantha's death acted alone, and we're confident we have that person in custody," Mark Mew said at a press conference, adding that charges for Koenig's abduction and murder "will be forthcoming."
Koenig's body was discovered in Matanuska Lake on Monday, during an investigation which was conducted by Anchorage police and FBI officials. While it is still unclear what information prompted them to search that particular area, officials applauded the public for their assistance in finding the missing barista's body.
"We received hundreds of phone calls from people in Anchorage and from many locations across the Lower 48. Likewise, when assistance was required in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, local, state and federal authorities moved quickly to support and move this investigation forward," Mary Rook, the FBI's special agent in charge, said at a press conference.
"In fact, were it not for the efforts of several very alert and dedicated Texas law enforcement officers, Samantha's abductor may still be at large," she added.
Koenig was last seen on a surveillance camera on Feb. 1 being led away from the coffee shack where she worked by a man carrying a weapon, and her body was discovered exactly two months after her disappearance.
"Investigators believe Samantha died within hours of her abduction, and we are continuing to investigate these facts," Mew said.
Keyes, 34, was charged with fraud after allegedly making cash withdrawals from a stolen debit card, which did not belong to Koenig, and was arraigned on March 27 in a federal court in Anchorage. Some suspect that he may have been identified as the man taking Koenig away on surveillance footage.
Koenig's father, James, said that his daughter did not know the man seen on surveillance and suggested that she was likely the victim of a random abduction, according to Anchorage Daily News.
"Investigators found no direct association between the abductor and Samantha or any member of her family. I believe it was largely the dissociative nature of this crime that so perplexed investigators, at least initially," Rook said.