Body of Missing Barista Found in Matanuska Lake

A body believed to be that of missing Anchorage barista, Samantha Koenig, has been found in a lake on Monday morning two months after she was last seen on a surveillance camera.

The body was discovered in Matanuska Lake by a forensic team of divers during an investigation which included Anchorage police and FBI officials. Medical examiners will now conduct an autopsy to determine whether the body is that of 18-year-old Koenig, according to ABC News.

"Investigators believe Samantha died within hours of her abduction, and we are continuing to investigate these facts. Investigators further believe the person responsible for Samantha's death acted alone, and we are confident that we have that person in custody," Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew said on Monday evening.

Koenig was last seen on a surveillance camera on the evening of Feb. 1 being led away from the coffee shack where she worked by a man carrying a weapon, and 34-year-old Israel Keyes is now considered a "person of interest."

Keyes, who has been charged with fraud after allegedly making cash withdrawals from a stolen debit card, was arraigned on March 27 in a federal court in Anchorage.

Police have not confirmed whether Keyes is the same man seen abducting Koenig on the surveillance video, and have remained tight lipped throughout the investigation.

"I can only reiterate and again assure you our joint decisions to not release more information were driven exclusively by our desire to maximize the potential for Samantha Koenig's safe return.
Unfortunately, that potential no longer exists," Mew said.

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, 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," Mary Rook, the FBI's special agent in charge, said at a press conference.

Rook called on the Anchorage community to come forward with any information that could assist law enforcement in solving the case.

"We would like to reiterate our request for information relative to the movement of the white pickup truck," Rook said in reference to a white Chevrolet pickup truck used by Keyes.

"Specifically, we want to hear from anyone who may have seen the truck in the vicinity of Matanuska Lake," she added.